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No positive Covid tests in Ulster senior squad as clash with Leinster gets all-clear

With the Ulster and Leinster squads all testing negative, Saturday’s game will continue as planned.

THE IRFU HAS confirmed that Covid-19 testing on Ulster’s senior squad has returned zero positive results.

With Leinster’s senior squad also returning zero positives from the latest round of PCR testing, Saturday’s Guinness Pro14 clash between the provinces has been given the all-clear to continue as planned.

The IRFU did confirm that eight Ulster academy players have tested positive for Covid-19, with all academy training in the province currently suspended.  

a-view-of-a-scrum Ulster in action against Connacht last weekend. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

All other players identified as potential close contacts of this group of eight academy players immediately began self-isolating after those confirmed positives and have since been tested themselves.

One member of Ulster’s senior was identified as a potential close contact and although he has received a negative test result, he will continue to self-isolate in line with public health advice.

The rest of the Ulster senior squad returned to training at the Kingspan Stadium today following the confirmation of this week’s negative tests, after training had stopped as a precautionary measure following the eight confirmed cases in the academy. 

In total, 155 players and staff in Ulster and Leinster were tested this week, meaning there have been 1,070 tests conducted across Irish professional rugby to date.

The eight confirmed Covid-19 cases in Ulster’s academy bring to nine the total of positives results in Irish rugby so far, with the other case having come in Munster’s academy.

“We have now had two occurrences of Covid and while the primary focus and concern will always be player health, it is good to see that the systems and protocols that have been put in place are working,” said IRFU Medical Director Rod McLoughlin.

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“We will now use these experiences to refine our systems and protocols as we continue to operate in this new environment.” 

The IRFU confirmed that this week’s testing results from Munster are expected this evening and Connacht’s are expected on Friday.

Munster and Connacht are set to meet at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday in their own Pro14 fixture.

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Murray Kinsella

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