With my usual proviso that we should all be concentrating at this juncture on preserving lives and the NHS, sport is coming back and the fact is that when I first heard of rugby’s new eight-nations tournament I have to confess I wasn’t listening properly and thought the Six Nations was being scrapped and Georgia and either Spain, Romania or Russia were being allowed in to the Championship.

It was not such a crazy thought – Georgia are currently ranked 12th in the World Rugby ratings, ahead of Italy in 14th place and

four places behind Scotland. Spain, Romania and Russia are 18th, 19th and 20th respectively but Russia is moving up places hand over fist. Maybe Vladimir Putin has taken up the game…

Sadly, however, it was a mishearing on my part and the new tournament is about World Rugby allowing a temporary fix to the disastrous effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Make no mistake this is all about pieces of eight, filthy lucre, the spondulicks, the moolah, the wonga, the readies and putting Mammon ahead of Panacea (originally the Greek goddess of medicinal cures, in case you didn’t know).

Just wait until you see the rugby unions piling pressure on the various governments to allow spectators in – I’ve seen estimates varying from 1,000 to 40,000 being promulgated by the vested interests who desperately need bums on seats to raise cash.

The 40,000 figure is being touted by the RFU, funnily enough – that’s the Union based in the country in the UK with by far the worst record on dealing with the pandemic. There is no one of any sense among health experts who thinks this pandemic will be over across Britain by the end of October, and we know where the worst-hit areas will continue to be.

The fact is that a second wave might just erupt in the UK at the very time we are all supposed to trot along to Murrayfield or Twickers and risk our lives to watch a game of rugby. It’s total and utter madness to even contemplate huge crowds being allowed, never mind encouraged, to travel and mingle until there is a vaccine and a cure for Covic-19.

Sorry to be a spoilsport, especially as I count myself among those who think professional sport without spectators is bunkum, but the only way this tournament should go ahead is behind closed doors with television cameras in attendance. Just think of the reality of a rugby tournament – fans with tickets head for bars and clubs before the matches, those without tickets head for their watering holes, and all the evidence shows that once drink is taken, social distancing and other precautions are oot the windae. Let’s watch the matches, by all means, but in the safety of our own homes or neighbourly bubbles – and no, a rugby clubhouse is not a bubble, though I’ve been in plenty that were full of balloons…

I’ve wanted a proper professional restart to rugby in this country for weeks now, and I have trusted the SRU to deliver it. They have worked with health experts and the Scottish Government and that is why we can anticipate some playing of PRO14 and league matches relatively soon, even with some fans in attendance, albeit socially distanced.

There’s a vast difference, however, between matches being played in front of a

few people and full internationals played in front of thousands or even tens of thousands of fans. And don’t tell me that Scots will be entirely sensible and observe all the precautions all the time – a few bevvies and Scots are just as likely as anyone else to break the rules.

As I have written before, I know full well just how perilously close to extinction some clubs are, and certainly it’s going to take a long time to recover from the pandemic’s economic effects, but the SRU and other Home Unions have taken measures to ensure survival, albeit with income massively reduced.

If the tournament goes ahead, it should only do so with the approval of the Governments of all the participating nations. For the avoidance of doubt that means the Scottish, Welsh and both Irish Governments as well as Boris Johnson’s mob in London. If that means last minute decisions in late October then so be it – we just cannot take the risk of prolonging the pandemic.

I would love nothing more to see us play Wales to complete the Six Nations, then Japan and France at Murrayfield, and Italy in Rome. I could well imagine us topping the pool to set up a play-off against England, Ireland or Wales, and wouldn’t that be something?

Nevertheless, the whole kit and caboodle must be dependent on sufficient progress having been made before the tournament so that public health is not put at risk. I don’t see that happening at the moment, certainly not furth of these borders.

It’s too much jeopardy, too soon, and no life is worth pieces of eight.