EDINBURGH have given their players a four-week break from group training following the decision by PRO14 to suspend the season indefinitely.

Members of Richard Cockerill’s squad will, however, still be expected to train individually while observing official guidelines on social distancing.

Glasgow Warriors are expected to confirm in the coming days that they are following the same procedure with their squad.

“We are completely supportive of the Guinness PRO14’s decision to indefinitely suspend the league and as such, our players will be taking a four-week break from rugby and group training activity,” Edinburgh chief executive Douglas Struth said in a press release. “While the squad will still be training on an individual basis, following strict government social-distancing protocol, their health and safety is paramount moving forward and so we’ll continue to keep them updated with the latest advice as the Covid-19 situation develops.”

The release continued: “Players’ training will be completely remote and on an individual basis, while the squad and staff will continue to stay in touch throughout the four-week break in order to communicate the latest

updates with regards to the evolving Covid-19 situation.”

If the season had continued as normal, Edinburgh would have played the Southern Kings yesterday in the first match of their two-game stay in South Africa. When the suspension was announced they were two points clear at the top of Conference B with high hopes of making the end-of-season play-offs, but now must remain focused on ensuring they are in good condition when rugby eventually resumes.

Glasgow, who had been due to play Ospreys in Wales yesterday, are in the third and final play-off spot in Conference A.

The suspension of the PRO14 season “on an indefinite basis” was announced on Thursday, as was the cancellation of the final, which was due to have been played in Cardiff on 20 June. PRO14 has yet to take a final decision on abandoning the season, but have said they will only countenance a resumption once four key public-health criteria have been met.

Those are: the lifting of a ban by the authorities on sport and group training; the removal of travel restrictions between the countries involved – Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Italy and South Africa; the absence of forced isolation or quarantine orders; and the safeguarding of player welfare – including the provision of a suitable training period before matches resume.

The last point ensures that teams can give their players a break just now, safe in the knowledge that there will be no sudden announcement of a resumption of play.

PRO14 are holding open the possibility that some sort of season decider could still be played.

“Should any final be played as part of the 2019/20 season, it will be hosted by the team with highest ranking based upon league records from this campaign,” the league said when the suspension was announced.

Leinster have by far the best record from the two conferences with Edinburgh second best.