Coronavirus wrap: Challenge Cup final postponed while PL resumes training

Rugby League’s Challenge Cup final, slated for Wembley on July 18, has been postponed while Premier League football prepares to resume non-contact training.

The final was due to be the first played in July since 1987, but the ongoing pandemic has seen it removed from the schedule.

The Rugby Football League still hopes to stage the showpiece later in 2020, so long as Government advice permits.

Meanwhile Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has hailed the “meticulous” planning behind the Premier League’s return to non-contact training and hopes the season can be restarted and finished.

Top flight clubs were set to resume training in small groups on Tuesday and Bruce believes the preparations have left no stone unturned.

“They have done everything they possibly can to make sure everyone is safe,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “The attention to detail is fantastic. I think everything has been put in place.

“They have been meticulous in their planning. The vast majority of our squad are satisfied (with the first phase training protocols). Let’s get up and going and see where it takes us. I think all of us want to get it started and finished.”

Bruce is hopeful that clubs will be able to move on to contact training and then to a Premier League restart in the coming weeks once the players are fit enough to resume.

“Players have been off eight to nine weeks. Normally in pre-season it takes six weeks to get them right and six games (friendlies) so it’s going to be a bit of a shot in the dark but I hope we get the second phase (contact training) done.”

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