TODAY'S Argus would normally be crammed full of weekend sporting action from around Gwent.

The plan was for reaction to the Dragons' game at Ulster in the Guinness PRO14 and a report of Newport County's home League Two fixture against Colchester and boss Michael Flynn's thoughts.

There were vital rounds in the Welsh Rugby Union leagues and Newbridge were set to play for a place at Principality Stadium finals day, while there was meant to be a local football round-up as teams hunt promotion or battle relegation.


Instead teams are kicking their heels on the sidelines with the focus instead on stay healthy – mixing and laughing with teammates now has to take place digitally.

On Friday the Welsh Rugby Union made the decision to cancel all of their competitions because of the pandemic, with all teams remaining in their current division for 2020/21.

That means more agony for Pooler in their bid for a return to the Premiership for the first time since 2013.

The WRU cups will not be completed and the cross-border competition between Welsh and Scottish clubs, which Ebbw Vale were due to take part in, has also been scrapped for the current campaign.

"We did not take this decision lightly. It is not intended to in any way diminish the games that have already taken place or the efforts of everyone involved," said chief executive Martyn Phillips.

"We were particularly aware of the impact on clubs with the potential to be promoted or win competitions, but in the end we have had to make the decision to ensure we play our part in safeguarding Welsh communities."

The decision means that Ebbw are safe from relegation in the Premiership, although they were already in a healthy position ahead of bottom club Bridgend.

Newbridge were runaway leaders in Division One and set to play a promotion play-off with the winners of Division One East for a swift return to the Championship.

'Bridge were also 80 minutes away from a final at Principality Stadium after making it to the semi-finals of the WRU National Plate.

The PRO14 has been suspended indefinitely and the planned Grand Final at Cardiff City Stadium in June has been cancelled. The European quarter-finals, planned for the start of April, have been postponed.

The Dragons met at the Ystrad Mynach training base last Monday – with players screened on arrival – but that was the last time they gathered.

Dean Ryan's squad have been given individual training programmes and are working out alone.

The PRO14 is a cross-border competition featuring teams from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy and South Africa so it will be a challenge to resume and complete the season.

Wales' summer tour is also likely to be hit – Wayne Pivac's team were supposed to be facing Japan before two Tests against the All Blacks in New Zealand.


The WRU is braced for a major financial hit caused because of coronavirus but has pledged to help its clubs.

Grants from the governing body due at the end of April will be paid as normal, and all clubs will receive an additional £1,000 funding as part of contingency plans, with emergency funding allocated to high-priority cases.

One week on from the suspension of the English Football League season, lower league clubs like Newport County AFC are facing up to unprecedented challenges as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

After listening to submissions from clubs, the EFL board announced on Wednesday an immediate "£50 million short-term relief package" to help alleviate some of the financial struggles.

As a League Two team, County received the advanced £164,200 "basic award" payment into their account - and can apply for an interest-free loan of up to £119,800.

The basic award payment is a flat figure for all clubs in the division, staggered over the course of the season.

This is being advanced immediately to help with any short-term cashflow issues.

County chairman Gavin Foxall said last week that the money the club has made from successful runs in the League Cup and FA Cup over the last three seasons means they are better off than some of their rivals.

"We've been extremely fortunate with the cup runs that we've had over the last couple of seasons and that money will certainly come into play now significantly in helping us through what will be a turbulent time," he told BBC Radio Wales.

"We've met as a club board and all of us came to the same conclusion – that we are in a fairly favourable position because of our financial position today.

"A few years ago that might not have been the case."

But the Exiles will still feel the pinch if they are out of action for several months and that seems likely with all fixtures now suspended until at least the end of April and everyone braced for that period of inaction to be extended further.

All Welsh domestic football is also on hold and the national teams are also out of action, with Ryan Giggs' men seeing two friendly matches cancelled this month and Euro 2020 postponed by 12 months.

Jayne Ludlow's women's national side have also seen their Euro 2021 qualifiers against Faroe Islands and Norway, which were scheduled to be played at Rodney Parade next month, postponed.

Away from football and rugby, all other domestic sport has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Blaenavon MMA fighter Mason Jones was one of the few not to be sat at home twiddling his thumbs last weekend.

Jones beat Joe McColgan to claim the vacant Cage Warriors lightweight title at a behind-closed-doors show in Manchester.

While the big Matchroom boxing promotion in Cardiff on May 9 is still scheduled to go ahead, it remains to be seen when the 2020 Olympic qualifiers will resume.

Gwent world champion Lauren Price was waiting for her first fight of the London event when the action was suspended three days in.


The 2020 Olympics and Paralympics continue to be debated, with organisers now debating their future.

Many have criticised the IOC for not postponing the Games in Tokyo already given the spread of the virus and how difficult athletes are finding it to prepare.

The likes of hockey's Jacob Draper, taekwondo's Lauren Williams and fight star Price are hoping to represent Gwent in Japan to fulfil their Olympic dreams.

Any other year, cricketers across the country would be gearing up for the start of the season – not this year.

All recreational forms of the sport have been suspended, including training and pre-season friendlies.

Wales Golf has started postponing events, including the annual awards at the Celtic Manor, while Welsh Athletics have moved the Newport Marathon to October.

The snooker World Championship has also been postponed.