Leinster handed quarter-final spot after positive Covid-19 test in Toulon camp

Leinster Handed Quarter-Final Spot After Positive Covid-19 Test In Toulon Camp Leinster Handed Quarter-Final Spot After Positive Covid-19 Test In Toulon Camp
Leinster Rugby senior coach Stuart Lancaster. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images
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By Duncan Bech, PA

Leinster will face either Exeter or Lyon in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals after the cancellation of their last-16 clash with Toulon.

Three-time tournament winners Toulon had travelled to Dublin for their clash with Leinster at the RDS Arena on Friday, but a player who did not make the trip had tested positive for coronavirus.

The Champions Cup medical risk assessment committee deemed the match unsafe to play, even though Toulon had completed a round of negative tests after arriving in Dublin.

Tournament bosses have now awarded Leinster direct passage to the last eight, where they will meet the winners of Saturday’s clash between defending champions Exeter and French side Lyon.

“Following the cancellation of the Heineken Champions Cup, Round of 16 fixture between Leinster Rugby and RC Toulon due to health and safety concerns for players, club staff and match officials alike, the result of the match has been decided by a Match Result Resolution Committee,” read a statement from European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR).

“The committee, comprising members of the EPCR Management team, with EPCR Board members, Andrea Rinaldo (FIR) and Robert Howat (SRU), as observers, considered the facts regarding the cancelled match today.

“Following medical advice that the match could not be played safely, RC Toulon were unable to select a match day squad after it was deemed that the club had a number of high-risk close contacts with one of its non-travelling players who had tested positive for COVID-19.

“Therefore as RC Toulon could not fulfil the fixture, the committee decided under the terms of EPCR’s COVID-19 protocol that Leinster will progress to the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals on the weekend of April 9.”

The EPCR decision to hand Leinster an effective bye to the last eight followed confirmation earlier on Friday that the match had been cancelled.

“It was concluded that there were a number of high-risk contacts with the player who had tested positive and deemed the match unsafe to play with the participation of those identified contacts,” read the initial EPCR statement.

“Having been notified of that position, Toulon informed EPCR that they could not select a matchday squad to safely fulfil the fixture.

“Having explored all possible alternative arrangements to facilitate the staging of the fixture, it was decided that the match could not be played safely given both the current public health guidelines in Ireland and EPCR’s Covid-19 protocol.”

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