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Ulster and Connacht Coronavirus-free as provinces set for full return

Leinster and Munster delivered zero positives after testing last week.

Robert Baloucoune and Tiernan O’Halloran race for a ball in December.
Robert Baloucoune and Tiernan O’Halloran race for a ball in December.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THE IRFU THIS morning confirmed that the 118 tests for Covid-19 administered to players and staff in Ulster and Connacht Rugby have delivered zero positive results

The tested group now join counterparts in Leinster and Munster, who returned 140 negative outcomes last week, and are cleared to return for training from Monday 29 June.

“The first phase of PCR testing has been successfully completed,” said the IRFU’s medical director Dr Rod McLoughlin after 258 tests with zero positives.

“The players and staff now enter a period of daily medical screening and assessment.  The second phase of testing will take place as players return to contact.”

The tests, taken by players and staff in Ulster and Connacht on Wednesday, were carried out by Cork-based company Advanced Medical Studies and the green light has allowed the professional game on this island a two-month ramp-up to a return to action.

Competitive rugby is due to return on 22 August with the resumption of a curtailed Guinness Pro14. 18 September brings about the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, in which Ulster face a tough trip to Toulouse while Leinster host Saracens.

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Sean Farrell

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