The Heineken Champions Cup clash between Leinster and Montpellier becomes the latest fixture to be called off due to a Covid-19 outbreak.
The Irish province already had three senior players and a staff member tested positive for Covid-19 last week with the latest round of PCR tests reporting further 'additional number of senior players who have tested positive'.
Even though Montpellier also had reported positive cases last week, there have been no additional cases since Monday and as a result, the EPCR have decided to hand a 28-0 win to the French side.
“Following a meeting of an independent Match Risk Assessment Committee, EPCR has been advised that the Champions Cup, Round Two fixture between Montpellier Hérault Rugby and Leinster Rugby scheduled for tomorrow [Friday, 17 December] at the GGL Stadium cannot go ahead safely,” read a statement from EPCR.
“The contest in Pool A is therefore cancelled with Montpellier Hérault Rugby awarded the match on a 28-0, five match points basis, in accordance with the Tournament Rules.
“The Match Risk Assessment Committee, made up of medical doctors from EPCR’s Medical Advisory Group as well as an independent medical specialist with experience in virology, advised EPCR of its concerns following new positive Covid-19 test results from the Leinster Rugby playing squad, and regrettably the decision was made to cancel the match.
“EPCR would like to acknowledge the efforts by both clubs to fulfil the fixture, and would also like to emphasise that awarding the match to Montpellier is a tournament management measure with the objective of ensuring that all fixtures in the 2021/22 Champions Cup are accounted for, and not a sanction.”
Leinster expressed their disappointment over the decision of EPCR as they hoped the result would have been draw considering positive cases on both the squads.
"The Leinster Rugby squad and staff have had five rounds of Antigen tests and four rounds of PCR tests in the last six days and a group of players and staff, who have all come through each stage of those tests, had been selected to represent the club in France tomorrow evening and arrangements made accordingly.
"As a result of these test results and the measures implemented by Leinster Rugby, a letter was issued today, Thursday, 16th December 2021, to Leinster Rugby from Public Health Ireland confirming that the group could travel to France for the game.
"At all times Leinster Rugby has complied with all measures and protocols required of the club by EPCR, and by the HSE, and will continue to do so.
"While we are disappointed with the outcome of today’s decision by EPCR, our focus now is the health and well-being of all our players and staff and we would like to put on record, as a club, our sincere thanks to Prof. John Ryan and all the medical team supporting those players and staff."