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Champions Exeter Chiefs have had the defence of their title massively impacted by the coronavirus.
Champions Exeter Chiefs have had the defence of their title massively impacted by the coronavirus.
Image: PA

No 'blame' but Bath, Glasgow and champions Exeter handed 4-try defeats for Covid cancellations

La Rochelle, Lyon and Toulouse have been given bonus-point victories after their opponents were deemed unable to safely field teams.
Dec 18th 2020, 7:33 PM 12,746 11

THE EPCR HAS awarded bonus-point victories to Toulouse, Lyon and La Rochelle after their Heineken Champions Cup opponents this weekend — Exeter Chiefs, Glasgow Warriors and Bath respectively — were deemed “unable to safely field a matchday squad”, leading to the cancellation of the three pool-stage fixtures.

An outbreak of Covid-19 at Exeter following last Sunday’s win over Glasgow resulted in their Round 2 matches being cancelled on Wednesday. On Thursday, Bath’s trip to La Rochelle joined the casualty list after it emerged that a Scarlets player had returned a positive test for Covid-19 following the Welsh region’s opening-weekend fixture against the Gallagher Premiership side. 12 Bath players were deemed to be close contacts of the Scarlets player in question, which led Bath to withdraw from their Round 2 encounter with Ronan O’Gara’s French side.

Toulon’s match at Scarlets — due to be played tonight — has subsequently been “postponed” but not yet cancelled as was the case for the other three aforementioned fixtures. As such, a result has not yet been determined but Toulon, who pulled out of fulfilling the fixture at the 11th hour, have said they are aware of potentially “serious consequences” for doing so.

A statement released by the EPCR this evening confirmed the prescribed results of the three fully cancelled Round 2 fixtures, and said its decisions were made not with the attribution of blame in mind, but with a view only to ensuring that this season’s competition is completed.

“Following the cancellation of the Heineken Champions Cup, Round 2 fixtures between Glasgow Warriors and Lyon, La Rochelle and Bath Rugby, and Toulouse and Exeter Chiefs, in the interests of the health and safety of players and club staff alike, the results of the matches have been decided by a Match Result Resolution Committee,” the statement began.

“The committee, comprising EPCR Director General, Vincent Gaillard, EPCR Board member, Andrea Rinaldo, and EPCR Head of Governance and Regulations, Liam McTiernan, considered the facts regarding the cancelled matches today (Friday, 18 December).

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“In respect of the Glasgow Warriors v Lyon Pool B fixture which had been scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday, 19 December) at Scotstoun, it was decided that as Glasgow Warriors were unable to safely field a matchday squad due to the unavailability of a significant number of isolating players, Lyon were deemed to be the winners, and were awarded five match points on a scoreline of 28-0.

“In respect of the La Rochelle v Bath Rugby match in Pool A which had also been scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday, 19 December) at Stade Marcel Deflandre, it was decided that as Bath were unable to safely field a matchday squad due to the unavailability of a significant number of isolating players, in addition to reported injuries to other squad members, La Rochelle were deemed to be the winners, and were awarded five match points on a scoreline of 28-0.

“In respect of the Toulouse v Exeter Chiefs fixture in Pool B which had been scheduled for Sunday (20 December) at Stade Ernest Wallon, it was decided that as Exeter Chiefs had recorded a number of positive tests for Covid-19 among players and staff and were therefore unable to travel to France to fulfil the fixture on public health advice, Toulouse were deemed to be the winners, and were awarded five match points on a scoreline of 28-0.

“EPCR would like to emphasise that blame was not considered as a factor during the deliberations, and the committee’s decisions were made with a view to facilitating the completion of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup in unprecedented circumstances.”

Heineken Champions Cup Round 2 results (matches cancelled)

Pool A – La Rochelle 28 (4 converted tries) Bath Rugby 0
Match points – La Rochelle 5 Bath Rugby 0
Pool B – Glasgow Warriors 0 Lyon 28 (4 converted tries)
Match points – Glasgow Warriors 0 Lyon 5
Pool B – Toulouse 28 (4 converted tries) Exeter Chiefs 0
Match points – Toulouse 5 Exeter Chiefs 0

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Gavan Casey

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