Leinster's quarter-final spot confirmed as Toulon rage at 'scandal'

Leo Cullen’s men will face Exeter or Lyon next weekend.

The game was due to be played at the RDS.
The game was due to be played at the RDS.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

EPCR HAS CONFIRMED that Leinster will progress to the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals next weekend.

The Irish province were due to face Toulon in the round-of-16 this evening but the game was cancelled after one of the French side’s players tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday of this week.

With that player having gone into isolation, Toulon travelled to Dublin for the game yesterday but EPCR pulled the plug on the knock-out fixture hours before kick-off due to the French club’s front-row players having been identified as close contacts. 

EPCR swiftly convened a Match Result Resolution Committee and a final decision has been made that Leinster will advance to the next round, where they will meet the winner of tomorrow’s tie between Exeter and Lyon.

“Following the cancellation of the Heineken Champions Cup, Round of 16 fixture between Leinster Rugby and RC Toulon due to health and safety concerns for players, club staff and match officials alike, the result of the match has been decided by a Match Result Resolution Committee,” reads an EPCR statement.

“The committee, comprising members of the EPCR Management team, with EPCR Board members, Andrea Rinaldo (FIR) and Robert Howat (SRU), as observers, considered the facts regarding the cancelled match today (Friday, 2 April).

“Following medical advice that the match could not be played safely, RC Toulon were unable to select a match day squad after it was deemed that the club had a number of high-risk close contacts with one of its non-travelling players who had tested positive for Covid-19.

“Therefore as RC Toulon could not fulfil the fixture, the committee decided under the terms of EPCR’s Covid-19 protocol that Leinster will progress to the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals on the weekend of 9/10/11 April.”

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Toulon have expressed their outrage at the decision, with club president Bernard Lemaitre calling it a “scandal” and threatening that the Top 14 side will boycott the competition in the future.

“It’s disgusting,” Lemaitre told Midi Olympique in France. “The player tested positive on Wednesday and immediately isolated. EPCR was immediately informed, but they let us go to Dublin [on Thursday], for more than 24 hours.

“And despite a total negative re-test of the players last night [Thursday night] at 8pm, these people made this decision less than five hours before the match.”

Toulon also released an official statement stressing that the club “strongly deplores the decision” to cancel the game.

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Murray Kinsella

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