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Montpellier dealing with Covid outbreak nine days before Leinster clash

The French club are due to face Toulouse this Sunday in the Top 14.

Leinster are due to host Montpellier at the RDS.
Leinster are due to host Montpellier at the RDS.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

FRENCH CLUB MONTPELLIER are dealing with an outbreak of Covid-19 in their squad nine days before they are scheduled to face Leinster in Dublin in the Champions Cup.

The sides were due to meet in Montpellier last month in the European competition but the game was cancelled and ECPR awarded a 28-0 bonus-point win to the French club due to Leinster’s growing number of Covid cases at the time.

The clubs are scheduled to meet in Round 3 of the pool stages of the Champions Cup at the RDS on Sunday 16 January.

While Leinster have returned to training since their United Rugby Championship fixtures against Munster and Ulster were postponed due to Covid, Montpellier are now dealing with their own outbreak.

Montpellier are due to face Toulouse in the Top 14 this Sunday but they have reported an unspecified number of positive Covid cases in their squad, including “several symptomatic cases”.

Those who tested positive have gone into isolation and the entire Montpellier squad was due to undergo further PCR testing this morning to ascertain whether the virus has spread further within the group.

Leinster will be very hopeful of their Champions Cup clash with Montpellier going ahead in two weekends’ time given how few matches they have played recently.

As well as seeing the first Montpellier fixture cancelled and the inter-pro derbies against Munster and Ulster postponed, Leinster’s scheduled URC game against the Lions of South Africa this weekend was also postponed.

It means Leo Cullen’s men have not played a game since beating Bath in Dublin on 11 December.

While Montpellier will now be waiting anxiously for the results of their latest round of testing, it is expected that EPCR will confirm that all Round 3 and Round 4 pool games in the Champions Cup are to proceed as planned this month, Covid permitting.

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Last month, five Champions Cup games and two Challenge Cup games were postponed after the French government imposed tough restrictions on travel to and from the UK.

However, Rugbyrama in France reports that the Top 14 presidents were told last night by EPCR to plan for the Round 3 and Round 4 games to go ahead following reassurances from the UK and French governments regarding travel.

An official announcement is expected from EPCR today.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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