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Leinster set to appeal for cancelled Montpellier game to be rescheduled

The Irish province are unhappy about EPCR’s decision.

Leinster are angry about the postponed game.
Leinster are angry about the postponed game.

LEINSTER ARE SET to launch an appeal to have their cancelled game against Montpellier rescheduled after EPCR yesterday announced the postponement of a series of fixtures involving French clubs.

The42 understands that the Irish province intends to push for their clash with Montpellier to also be refixed for a later date.

Late on Thursday, Leinster’s planned Champions Cup meeting with Montpellier was called off and EPCR awarded a 28-0 bonus-point win to the French club.

Both clubs had Covid cases in their squads over the past week but EPCR decided that Leinster’s greater number of cases and more recently reported cases meant that Montpellier would be awarded the 28-0 victory.

The decision sparked great anger within Leinster, who pointed out to EPCR that they had named a matchday squad who had completed five rounds of antigen tests and four rounds of PCR tests in the past six days without recording a single positive result. Leinster had also been given clearance by Public Health Ireland for that squad to fly out to France yesterday morning.

However, EPCR’s Match Risk Assessment Committee, which is made up of doctors from EPCR’s Medical Advisory Group and an independent virology expert, had told EPCR “of its concerns following new positive Covid-19 test results from the Leinster Rugby playing squad” and recommended that the game should be called off.

Leinster’s feeling of anger is thought to have intensified yesterday when EPCR postponed five Champions Cup ties involving French and UK clubs.

It’s also understood that Leinster will seek clarity on why Munster’s game against Wasps was allowed to proceed last weekend after the English club reported new Covid cases hours before kick-off, withdrawing several players who had been named to play.

EPCR’s decision yesterday to postpone games came after the French government had toughened its rules on travel to and from the UK, with EPCR citing “exceptional circumstances” in deciding to postpone the games rather than cancel them.

It’s now understood that Leinster are preparing to launch a formal appeal with EPCR for their clash with Montpellier to also be rescheduled.

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Two weeks ago, EPCR had indicated to clubs that there was no room in the rugby season’s calendar for rescheduled games.

That came when Munster, Cardiff, and Scarlets were under intense pressure to field teams for the opening weekend of the Champions Cup after their senior squads had been hugely affected by having to isolate following their United Rugby Championship trips to South Africa.

While Munster and Cardiff managed to field teams featuring lots of inexperienced young players, Scarlets had to hand Bristol a 28-0 walkover due to their entire senior squad and staff only getting out of quarantine in Belfast the day before the game. The Welsh government had forbidden Scarlets to return to Wales when they had to leave South Africa.

However, EPCR yesterday postponed five Champions Cup games, as well as two Challenge Cup games.

It remains to be seen when those games can be rescheduled for, with a change in the format of the Champions Cup among the possibilities now set to be considered.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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