The Rugby Football Union has confirmed the end of the season for all levels below the Premiership following the coronavirus outbreak.

The move, which applies to “all league, cup and county rugby in England”, means that the campaign for Cumbrian clubs will finish with at least six weeks to play.

The RFU said a further update would be issued in April as they aim to “ensure fair and balanced outcomes”.

“We are working through the implications of ending the season early and have instigated a thorough process to ensure fair and balanced outcomes for the game,” said RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney.

“While we would like to provide all the answers now, we need some time to get it right for the best interests of the game.

“Rest assured we are working on this as a priority and we will continue to send weekly updates to clubs.”

Those outcomes will most affect Carlisle, currently in the North Premier relegation zone and Keswick who are bottom of North One West.

St Benedict’s are well clear in Cumbria Division One and champions-elect.

The county cups have also been abandoned but Carlisle 's Cumbria Cup final against Kirkby Lonsdale could conceivably kick off next season with a delayed showdown.

Also scrapped is the County Championship, which has seen Cumbria go through to the Plate final at Twickenham twice in recent years.

The County Championship has been running since 1889 and has previously only had breaks for World War One and World War Two – although the 2001 event was heavily hit by the foot-and-mouth outbreak, with Yorkshire and Cornwall being invited to play a final at Twickenham that year.

Cumberland won the main competition in 1924 and again as Cumbria in 1997 before the Championship was revamped.

Former England and Bath hooker Graham Dawe is the head coach of reigning champions Cornwall.

He said: “There was talk about this possibly being the last County Championship with the structure of the season under stress.

“We’ve had a review and they’re yet to make their findings known about restructuring the leagues.

“Hopefully the restructuring of the leagues will leave more space for the County Championship to be a bigger event in the future.”

On the national stage, Saracens’ relegation from the Premiership has already been confirmed following salary cap breaches.

Newcastle Falcons, unbeaten and well clear in the Championship, are likely to replace them in the top flight.

The Premier 15s – the top division of women’s rugby in England – has also ended early following the RFU’s decision.