A rugby union team beaten 240-0 – in what is thought to be the heaviest ever defeat in the sport in Britain – have quit their league over concerns for players’ safety.
South Leicester RFC said they had taken the decision “with deep regret” after enduring a torrid season in the Midlands Premier Division, the fifth tier of English rugby.
The club – which was founded in 1919 and whose former youth players include England prop Dan Cole – reportedly lost around 30 players following their relegation last season.
The team were hammered 240-0 by Bromsgrove Rugby Club in October – conceding 36 tries in the match – while other results this season include defeats of 124-11, 120-0 and 127-7.
In a statement announcing they were quitting the league, South Leicester said: “This decision has not been taken lightly but as results have shown the lack of suitable playing strength and with the shortage of front row, the club must think of players’ safety and their well-being.”
The club added that they will seek to re-enter the Midlands leagues for the 2020-21 season at a level yet to be decided by organisers.
South Leicester said they would continue putting out a senior team each week for the rest of the season to play friendly games.
They acknowledged the “effort by the club coaches and players” and thanked “everyone for the positive support”.
The club also thanked the “wider rugby community” and apologised to other clubs in the Midlands Premier Division, saying “most of which have been supportive from the start of the season”.
After the 240-0 defeat, South Leicester tweeted that the club have “experienced a torrid time” and acknowledged they were being “outgunned and have failed to match the physicality of this division”.
The loss is still some way off the record margin of victory in a rugby fixture after Belgian side Royal Kituro were battered 356-3 by Soignies in 2015.