Vitality Netball Superleague: Leeds Rhinos Netball fixtures cancelled and Rhinos awarded points
A positive COVID-19 result within Rhinos' squad meant that their Round 20 fixtures against Dragons and Pulse could not be played, a predetermined rule means that result of the previous fixture will be applied; the six points secure Rhinos fourth place and the final play-off spot
Last Updated: 15/06/21 10:49am
The Vitality Netball Superleague Rescheduling Competition Committee have announced that Leeds Rhinos Netball's two remaining fixtures of the regular season will be declared as cancelled, and that Rhinos will be awarded the points for both games.
Dan Ryan's team were due to play against London Pulse and Celtic Dragons in Round 20, and the fixtures would have completed their regular season campaign. However, they are currently isolating due to a positive COVID-19 result within their camp.
The statement from the committee said the decision was made because of a predetermined rule in place, which states that where matches are cancelled because of a positive COVID-19 case, the result of the previous fixture in the season will be applied.
Leeds Rhinos Netball beat Celtic Dragons 65-35 in the opening round of the season and London Pulse 40-38 in Round 8. As a result, the decision was made to award Leeds Rhinos the points in both of the cancelled games.
Ryan's outfit will therefore finish the regular season with 36 points in total, putting them in fourth place in the final standings. After results from Round 19 fixtures, that will see Leeds Rhinos progress to the semi-final match on Saturday, June 26.
Latest Vitality Netball Superleague Standings
|1. Team Bath Netball (Q)||19||17||2||0||51|
|2. Loughborough Lightning (Q)||19||16||3||0||48|
|3. Manchester Thunder (Q)||19||16||3||0||48|
|4. Leeds Rhinos Netball (Q)||20||12||8||0||36|
|5. Strathclyde Sirens||19||10||7||2||32|
|7. Saracens Mavericks||19||10||8||1||31|
Isolation and timings
Further details were released by the Vitality Netball Superleague in their statement, specifically about the timings of Leeds Rhinos Netball's isolation period.
Due to Vitality Netball Superleague squads training and playing indoors, all players and staff are considered to be 'close contacts' of the individual who tested positive.
The last time Leeds Rhinos assembled as a full squad was for a training session on June 9, which is the date from which their 10 days of isolation starts.
Once out of the 10-day period (June 19), the squad then have a 'Return to Play' period of five days.
This has been put in place by the Vitality Netball Superleague to protect athlete welfare and ensure that players are fit to take to court after a period of isolation.
The 4 teams for the @NetballSL finals wkend are confirmed, with Rhinos games being cancelled (Covid) & the results of the reverse fixtures being applied.(wins against Pulse & Dragons) So it’s @TeamBathNetball @LboroLightning @thundernetball & @RhinosNetballSL .. @SkyNetball 🤗— Katharine Merry (@KatharineMerry) June 15, 2021
"Every club and every athlete want to play every match, but the health and safety of everyone involved in the Vitality Netball Superleague is our priority," said Steve Elworthy, chair of the Vitality Netball Superleague board.
"Player welfare is at the heart of everything we do. As a result, we have rules in place for moments like this, and although we have had no cancellations to date in the league, it is of course disappointing to get to this stage of the season and have to use them."
Ahead of the 2021 season, the Vitality Netball Superleague and all 11 clubs collectively agreed a series of rules relating to the impact of COVID-19 on the competition, including points being awarded based on a previous contest between two teams.
"The health and safety of our athletes and staff has been at the forefront of everyone's minds during this process," Dan Busfield, Leeds Rhinos Netball's franchise manager, said.
"Although we would have all wished to have played our remaining fixtures, the isolation period and return to play protocols do not allow for this at this stage in the season.
Not how we wanted or envisaged the story to unfold at all! 🤯— Dan Ryan (@DanRyan84) June 15, 2021
But we’re so GRATEFUL & PROUD to have qualified for finals in our inaugural season.
After iso is done, it will be a very quick build up to finals, but like always, we will give this opportunity EVERYTHING we’ve got! https://t.co/Ivb8Eub8QT
"We are so proud of everything Dan Ryan and his team have achieved so far in our debut season and we are delighted to see them now qualify for the play-offs, albeit not in the circumstances we would have anticipated.
"It has certainly been a very competitive and exciting season. We know that our team are proud to be still in the competition and are looking forward to getting the opportunity to play together again."
Vitality Netball Superleague - Round 20 fixtures
|Sunday at 12pm||Saracens Mavericks vs Surrey Storm|
|Sunday at 2pm||Manchester Thunder vs Strathclyde Sirens|
|Sunday at 4pm||Celtic Dragons vs Severn Stars|
|Monday at 5.15pm||Wasps vs Surrey Storm|
|Monday at 7.15pm||Loughborough Lightning vs Team Bath Netball|
Storm and Wasps fixture rescheduled
The Round 19 fixture between Surrey Storm and Wasps, which was postponed while awaiting the results of a PCR test from the Wasps' camp, has been rescheduled and will be played.
The PCR test came back as negative, and the match will now take place on Monday June 21, at 5.15pm.
Sky Sports is your home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague continues on Sunday, with four matches back-to-back streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel from 12pm.