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7 European games postponed but Munster's clash with Castres goes ahead

The southern province will host the French side at Thomond Park tomorrow.

Thomond Park in Limerick.
Thomond Park in Limerick.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

EUROPEAN RUGBY HAS been hit by a series of postponed games, but Munster’s clash with Castres tomorrow in Limerick will go ahead.

EPCR has confirmed that seven games in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have been postponed due to “current exceptional circumstances.”

The move follows the French government’s decision to toughen its restrictions around travel to and from the UK from midnight tonight.

The postponed games are:

Champions Cup

  • Bath Rugby v Stade Rochelais
  • Sale Sharks v ASM Clermont Auvergne
  • Scarlets v Union Bordeaux-Bègles
  • Stade Toulousain v Wasps
  • Stade Francais Paris v Bristol Bears

Challenge Cup

  • Worcester Warriors v Biarritz Olympique
  • London Irish v CA Brive

EPCR says “the intention is to reschedule the Round 2 fixtures to a later date.”

However, Castres are still set to take on Munster at Thomond Park tomorrow night, with the French government’s travel restrictions not currently applying to Ireland.

Lyon will also play their Challenge Cup game against Dragons this evening, having already travelled to Newport today, while they are expected to fly home immediately after the game. 

Round 2 of the Champions Cup had already been hit by two cancelled fixtures.

Last night, Leinster’s scheduled visit to Montpellier was called off

The game was due to take place tonight in Montpellier but was cancelled following Covid outbreaks in both clubs. EPCR awarded a 28-0 bonus-point win to Montpellier due to Leinster having more Covid cases and the more recent positive results. 

Leinster are angry at that decision, having named a Covid-free matchday squad and been given clearance by the Irish government to travel this morning.

Earlier today, the Ospreys’ visit to Racing 92 was also cancelled after the Welsh region reported positive Covid cases in their camp. Racing were awarded a 28-0 bonus-point win.

Round 1 of the Champions Cup saw Scarlets forced to hand Bristol a 28-0 walkover due to being unable to field a team after their entire senior squad had been quarantined following their return from a Covid-affected tour to South Africa.

Munster and Cardiff were also heavily hit by trips to South Africa but they managed to field teams for their clashes against Wasps and Toulouse, respectively, as they called on a host of inexperienced young players to fill in for missing senior stars.

Those clubs affected by the trip to South Africa had been told that rescheduling their European games was not possible.

“Following a meeting of the EPCR Board today (Friday, 17 December) it has been decided that due to current exceptional circumstances, Round 2 matches in the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup between French and UK clubs scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday are postponed,” reads the EPCR’s statement.

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“This is a consequence of new travel measures between the UK and France which are being introduced by the French Government.

“The Board received briefings from the three professional leagues which included updated information from the respective governments, however, there were insufficient assurances that these matches would not be at risk.

“Therefore, the intention is to reschedule the following Round 2 fixtures to a later date:

HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP
Bath Rugby v Stade Rochelais
Sale Sharks v ASM Clermont Auvergne
Scarlets v Union Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Toulousain v Wasps
Stade Francais Paris v Bristol Bears

EPCR CHALLENGE CUP
Worcester Warriors v Biarritz Olympique
London Irish v CA Brive

“All other Round 2 matches scheduled for this evening (Friday), and over the weekend, will go ahead as planned.

“EPCR will provide a further update as soon as practicable and will continue to liaise directly with all clubs, leagues and stakeholders.”

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