Rugby-Two Champions Cup games called off due to COVID

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - European Champions Cup - Wasps v Toulouse - Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, Britain - January 15, 2022 General view of a line out Action Images via Reuters/Molly Darlington

(Reuters) -The Champions Cup clash between Toulouse and Cardiff on Saturday has been cancelled due to a number of positive COVID-19 cases in the French side, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said on Friday.

Cardiff were awarded the Pool B tie 28-0 and five match points, in accordance with competition rules.

“Discussions with Stade Toulousain and the Ligue Nationale de Rugby took place before the match risk assessment committee, made up of medical doctors from EPCR’s medical advisory group as well as independent medical specialists,” EPCR said in a statement.

“Stade Toulousain had recorded a significant number of positive COVID-19 test results from within its tournament squad, and with the risk of further infection deemed to be too great, regrettably the decision was made to cancel the fixture.”

The forfeit could impact Toulouse’s chances of reaching the last 16.

The French club are seventh in Pool B on seven points, level with Cardiff in eighth and one point ahead of ninth-placed Wasps, who have a game in hand. The top eight teams in the pool qualify for the last 16.

Later on Friday, EPCR added that Union Bordeaux-Begles would not be able to fulfil their Champions Cup fixture against Leicester Tigers after recording a “number of COVID-19 cases” in their squad.

“The Pool B fixture … is therefore regrettably cancelled with Leicester Tigers awarded the match on a 28-0, five match points basis, in accordance with the tournament rules,” EPCR said.

Leicester have already secured qualification for the round of 16, while Bordeaux-Begles are sixth in Pool B.

Newcastle’s European Challenge Cup tie against French side Toulon was also called off due to a COVID-19 outbreak at the English club.

“It is bitterly disappointing news because we had been looking forward to this important fixture between the two unbeaten teams in our group,” Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards said.

EPCR will convene a match resolution committee to determine the outcome of the game.

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