Ealing Trailfinders would be more than capable of filling a top-flight spot in the event of a Premiership club going bust, according to their former flanker Jordy Reid.
With dire warnings of financial meltdown emanating from many Premiership owners in the wake of news that crowds are unlikely to be allowed to attend matches until next April, some clubs could fail by Christmas unless government support is forthcoming.
Ealing, backed my travel magnate Mike Gooley, are one of the few Championship clubs equipped to ride out the Covid-19 storm and have recruited strongly in anticipation of mounting another bid to win promotion – if the Championship season actually begins.
With prospects of tier two resumption dwindling, however, and Premiership clubs on their uppers, the prospect of a fully-loaded Trailfinders outfit being invited to make up the numbers is likely to grow, given they have a suitable groundshare already lined-up.
Reid, who joined Gloucester from Ealing during the summer, told The Rugby Paper: “It will be interesting to see how the landscape looks but I’d definitely back Trailfinders as a club to compete in the Premiership if they were given a chance to move up.
“They’ve got the facilities, players and staff and they’ve definitely got the backing of Mike Gooley, so they’re obviously itching to get the opportunity and I think they’d be well suited for a crack at the Premiership if they were given the chance to go in there.
“The academy’s been built up really well and that’s something they worked very hard on over the last 18 months I was there, so they’re developing a lot of their own players as well now and that leads to having good squad depth to bolster their chances.”
Reid added: “They’re definitely on the right path and although we missed out on winning promotion a couple of times when London Irish and Newcastle beat us to the title, they’ve proved they can mix it with top teams and the club’s improving all the time.
“I still keep in touch with boys there and while there’s uncertainty around when they’ll restart, if they do get a chance to go up they’ll give it a good shake.”
Meanwhile, Reid remains grateful for the opportunity afforded to him by Ealing to rebuild his career after he was released by Melbourne Rebels in 2017.
Reid had been in contention for an Australia call-up prior to suffering a serious back injury, but after joining Ealing in 2018 his star rose quickly in the Championship, with a string of man-of-the-match displays earning him a top-flight shot at Kingsholm.
After six Gloucester appearances to date, Reid, 28, said: “I was pretty stoked with the chance to come to Gloucester. I really enjoyed it at Ealing and owe them a lot, but I just wanted to have a crack at the top level again.
“I was quite fortunate to get it done before the season went on hold because it probably would have been difficult after that, but it’s been good so far and it’s been nice to get plenty of good Premiership game time during this congested block of games.”
While successive losses to Exeter Chiefs, Harlequins and Bath have been disappointing, Reid added: “We’ve got one more game left against Northampton next week so we’ll look to finish on a high note and then build quickly during what will be a short pre-season.
“We’ve got a strong back row with good depth, but I’m aiming to cement myself into the 23 and then look for a regular starting spot. If I can then get the same consistency into my game that I had at Ealing, I’m confident I’ll go really well next season.”