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Congested calendar and lack of planning to blame for Saracens fixture pantomime | Robert Kitson

Confusion over rescheduling of Clermont Auvergne game adds embarrassment to injury on worst weekend for English clubs in Europe’s top tournament

The pantomime season is upon us but farce is rugby union’s recurring speciality. How else to explain the sight of Clermont Auvergne thrashing a pallid Saracens in one of the year’s supposedly highest-profile club fixtures in front of a paltry audience on a freezing Monday tea-time in Mill Hill?

To decree, as the European Professional Club Rugby did in a belatedly rescinded statement on Sunday night, that the rescheduled game would be held behind closed doors was ludicrous from everyone’s point of view – players, coaches, fans and sponsors. The natural disruption caused by a snowy weekend should not obscure the shambolic administrative aftermath.

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