Ealing Trailfinders director of rugby Ben Ward says the RFU’s decision to cancel the Greene King IPA Championship season is the right call in light of the global coronavirus outbreak.

The RFU announced on Friday that the remainder of the 2019/20 season in England has been cancelled for all levels below the top-tier Gallagher Premiership due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The move, which applies to all ‘league, cup and county rugby in England’, means the Championship campaign will finish with at least seven rounds to play. 

Ealing were sat second in the Championship table with 53 points after winning 11 of their 14 fixtures and, despite the remainder of their season looking bright, Ward says the safety of players and staff has to be put first. 

He said: “Whilst of course we are disappointed by the current situation, it is clear that the right decision has been made for everyone. 

“We have been in great form recently and had some very exciting matches ahead in the coming months, but as always the health and safety of our players and staff is paramount.”

Ealing were yet to face Yorkshire Carnegie, Doncaster, Newcastle Falcons, Nottingham, Ampthill, London Scottish, Hartpury and Cornish Pirates, with the season having initially been suspended until April 14.

The RFU’s decision is of special significance to Falcons, who boast an 18-point lead at the top of Championship table after winning all 15 of their league matches. 

A decision around promotion and relegation from the Championship and all domestic leagues will be made in mid-April with the RFU appointing a panel to determine the finishing positions.

RFU CEO Bill Sweeney said: “My thoughts and those of all of us at the RFU are with everyone impacted by Covid-19 as well as recent flooding events, both across the country at large but also within our own rugby union community.

“When current government advice on social distancing measures changes, we will naturally encourage rugby training and friendlies to recommence.  

“We are working through the implications of ending the season early and have instigated a thorough process to ensure fair and balanced outcomes for the game. We will communicate these outcomes by the middle of April.

“While we would like to provide all the answers now, we need some time to get it right for the best interests of the game. Rest assured we are working on this as a priority and we will continue to send weekly updates to clubs.”