Sale Sharks' England international Manu Tuilagi has been ruled out of the 21st round Gallagher Premiership game clash against Harlequins to be played on Friday at AJ Bell Stadium.
The 30-year-old was set to make his first start for Sale after recovering from an Achilles injury that he sustained in September but now has been asked to self-isolate himself after he came in contact with a Covid positive tested member staff.
“Sale Sharks can confirm that a member of its staff received a positive Covid-19 test during routine lateral flow testing at the club’s Carrington training facility this week," read a statement from the club.
“As a result, video analysis of training was carried out in line with Premiership Rugby guidelines, and all players who came into contact with that member of staff were directed to self-isolate until further testing could be arranged.
“In consultation with Public Health England a round of drive-through PCR testing was also conducted. That member of staff returned a further positive result and is continuing to isolate.
“There were no additional positive Covid-19 tests and all other players will return to full training next week.
“However, following further investigation it was noted that Manu Tuilagi came into close contact with the affected member of staff."
The statement also added that Robert du Preez will take the place of Tuilagi in the starting line up with Aaron Reed named on the bench.
“All players are being tested daily and we look forward to having the full team back in training ahead of the next game," added the statement.
“The member of staff who tested positive is being monitored by the Sharks medical staff, and in the interests of privacy, Sale Sharks will not be disclosing their name.”
Sale Sharks are at third place in the table with 68 points - five behind second positioned Exeter Chiefs. The two teams along with Bristol Bears and Harlequins have already booked their places in the play-off of the Premiership.