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Leinster's game against Toulon has been cancelled due to a positive Covid case

The Champions Cup round-of-16 clash was due to kick off at 5.30pm this evening.

The RDS in Dublin.
The RDS in Dublin.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

LEINSTER’S ROUND-OF-16 Champions Cup clash with Toulon has been cancelled, EPCR has confirmed.

The game was scheduled to take place at 5.30pm this evening at the RDS and Toulon had arrived already in Dublin on Thursday ahead of the game, but a positive test in the French side’s squad has forced its cancellation.

EPCR has since confirmed that Leinster will advance into next weekend’s Champions Cup quarter-finals next weekend, where they will meet reigning champions Exeter or Lyon away from home.

However, Toulon president Bernard Lemaitre said it is “a scandal” that his club has been knocked out.

“It’s disgusting, 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 hour,” Lemaitre told Midi Olympique.

“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.”

The club followed up with an official statement reiterating that Toulon “strongly deplores the decision” to cancel the game.

The Top 14 side said that EPCR deemed all of its front row players to be close contacts of the positive case and offered the possibility of moving the game to Sunday, with Toulon bringing in six new front row players.

Toulon said this was “an obvious sporting impossibility” and claimed that the cancellation “is once again proof of the misguided ways in the organization of European competitions.

“The EPCR left the players and staff to travel to Ireland, prepare for the match, only to deprive them of playing in this major event within hours of kick-off,” said Toulon.

EPCR subsequently released its own official statement outlining why the game has been cancelled.

“Following a meeting by video conference of a Match Day Medical Risk Assessment Committee comprising medical leads from the unions, league bodies and both clubs, with input from the public health authorities in Ireland, it has been decided to cancel the Heineken Champions Cup, Round of 16 match between Leinster Rugby and RC Toulon which was scheduled for this evening (Friday 2 April) at the RDS Arena,” said EPCR.

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“The Committee, which received independent medical advice from Dr Brendan Payne (England) and Dr Daniel Koch (Switzerland), was informed that an RC Toulon player, who did not travel to Ireland, had tested positive for Covid-19 as part of the club’s routine testing.

“Although the RC Toulon players and staff who had travelled undertook an additional round of PCR testing in Dublin yesterday (Thursday 1 April) which revealed no positive results, the Committee concluded that there were a number of high-risk contacts with the player who had tested positive and deemed the match unsafe to play with the participation of those identified contacts.

“Having been notified of that position, RC Toulon informed EPCR that they could not select a match day squad to safely fulfil the fixture.

“Having explored all possible alternative arrangements to facilitate the staging of the fixture, it was decided that the match could not be played safely given both the current public health guidelines in Ireland and EPCR’s Covid-19 protocol.

“A Match Result Resolution Committee will be convened as soon as practicable to determine the outcome of the fixture.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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