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Jonathan Bradley of Belfast Telegraph (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Ulster Rugby's Covid-19 outbreak proves just how unstable sport's house of cards is. The show goes on, but for how long?

Jonathan Bradley


 

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Ulster's Kingspan Stadium could host the final of the European Champions Cup

Ulster's Kingspan Stadium could host the final of the European Champions Cup

©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Ulster's Kingspan Stadium could host the final of the European Champions Cup

When Ulster Rugby coaches spoke of the inevitable bumps in the road when returning to top-level sport while still in the grip of a global pandemic, they could hardly have known that they’d come both so soon and so close to home.

A pair of entertaining Irish derbies in the Aviva Stadium over the weekend were hardly business as usual - empty seats were naturally the most apparent of the many changes and a host of safety and social distancing protocols were required too in order to ensure the show was able to get back on the road - but turning off the lights in Dublin on Sunday evening, the feeling among organisers was surely one of relief.

In terms of getting the game going again, it seemed things could hardly have gone better, and while behind closed doors was hardly the ideal, neither was it rendered unwatchable.