The Toronto Wolfpack are set to feature in the first match when the Super League season resumes, but they have a lot of work to do to if they are to escape the bottom of the table.
There has been a lot of concern recently about the impending return of the major North American sports leagues, as positive cases of COVID-19 seem to be on the rise around the United States. This concern will not be as prevalent for the Toronto Wolfpack, after it was confirmed the Super League is set to return on Aug. 2.
The reason for less concern is because the Wolfpack will be playing their games in England, where the pandemic is not as much of an issue. (Of course we appreciate this situation could potentially change at any time, with understandable worries about a second wave, especially when the United Kingdom eases their lockdown further on July. 4.)
As reported by Neil Davidson of The Canadian Press via CBC, the Wolfpack will actually feature in the inaugural match to kick off the Super League’s return to action. They will face Hull Kingston Rovers in the first of triple-header of games, with their match starting at 1 pm ET.
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The neutral venue for the triple-header has yet to be confirmed, but we do know the matches will all be played behind closed doors. The following week will see a full round of fixtures involving all 12 Super League teams.
As per torontowolfpack.com, all fixtures will take place behind closed doors at a small number of neutral venues until further notice. All venues will meet the stringent guidance from both the government and the game’s clinical advisory group.
The Toronto Wolfpack will be desperate to get off on the right foot against Kingston Rovers, after an extremely disappointing start to their first ever Super League campaign. Prior to the season being suspended back in March, they were at the bottom of the table with six losses in six games, having scored the fewest points and conceded the most.
These struggles were in stark contrast for a Toronto franchise which had known nothing but success since joining the Rugby Football League. Their first match has an intriguing storyline, as they will be facing a Kingston Rovers which sits just one place and two points ahead of them in the Super League standings.
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As much as the Wolfpack has struggled so far in 2020, they can take some optimism from beating the Huddersfield Giants 18-0 in their last match before the season was suspended. Regardless of the fact it was a Challenge Cup fixture, it showed Toronto could compete against top competition, with the Giants having won four of their first five Super League matches this year.
In terms of the remainder of the season in general, torontowolfpack.com advises the revised schedule will consist of a further 15 rounds of action followed by a Top Four semi-final play-off. However, there is still a certain degree of uncertainty, both for the Wolfpack and the Super League.
As things stand, the Wolfpack will not be playing any matches in Toronto. As reported by Davidson, CEO Bob Hunter said home matches make no sense, given the travel issues and housing costs for teams.
The Super League has advised they are monitoring government directives in both Canada and France, where the Catalans Dragons are based. A decision on home matches for the Wolfpack and Dragons is expected within a couple of weeks.
Another situation which also still needs clarification, is if there will be promotion and relegation in 2020? The Super League would prefer to disregard it this year due to all the issues which have taken place, and Davidson notes the matter will go before the Rugby Football League board next month.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the team which finished at the bottom of the table in the Super League would be relegated. Pending the outcome of the board’s meeting, the Wolfpack’s first match against Kingston Rovers may well take on even more importance.
As long as the Super League resumes as planned, what kind of performances do you predict for the Toronto Wolfpack? Will they be able to improve their results, or are they destined to finish at or near the bottom of the Super League table? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.