Saints chairman White remains confident season will be finished

Saints chairman John White insists 'the focus is very much on being able to finish the season'.

Saints chairman John White
Saints chairman John White

And White is confident that it can happen as Gallagher Premiership clubs continue to prepare for the return to training.

No league games have been played since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has swept the globe.

But with football's English Premier League given a return date of June 17, there is increasing hope that rugby could also return at some point this summer.

There are nine matches still to play in the Premiership, with Saints currently sitting fourth in the standings.

And when asked whether the aim is still to conclude the current campaign, White told Saints' online season ticket holders' forum: "It still is, it's a question of when.

"The focus is very much on being able to finish the season off.

"As time rolls on, we may not get nine rounds in - it may go down to just play-offs eventually.

"But there is a determination to see the season out so I think we will do that. What I can't be specific on is when. This may run into early autumn even.

"Nobody really knows the answer to it, but I can tell you that there is a determination to finish the season off if we can.

"We won't give up on it lightly, but it is complex. A lot of it is around the testing and what's happening at government levels.

"We're at level four at the moment and until we get to level three and two then realistic chance of playing rugby is probably not there.

"But we're moving in the right direction which is why we still remain positive about it (finishing the current season) at Northampton."

White's positivity is clearly shared by some other Premiership clubs, including league leaders Exeter.

Chiefs chairman Tony Rowe told his club's website on Wednesday: “I don’t mind saying, last week I was pretty depressed as I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.

“At that time, we were not sure when we could get back to training and what the future would hold.

"This announcement (about the return to contact training) this week has changed things and now I’m more confident that we will return to playing again soon.

“As a club and as a sport, we have to see this as a positive.

"Of course, we will adhere to the advice of the government and the various medical professionals, but as a club we have a real desire to finish this season.

"It’s the same for Premiership Rugby, they too want to finish this season and get clubs back playing again.”