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'New strain' claims European Challenge Cup matches

CANCELLATION: French rugby club Bayonne, affected by the new coronavirus variant that was recently detected in Britain, announced Sunday they would not play their two final pool games of the European Challenge Cup, against Leicester and Zebre on January 15 and 22.

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Bayonne said the decision was taken after confirmation Saturday that the last two positive cases at the club showed the new strain of Covid-19, likely contracted, it added, after hosting Leicester on December 19.

The English club announced two positive cases of their own after that match and their subsequent game against Newcastle was cancelled.

Bayonne have already seen two Top 14 games, against Castres on December 27 and Pau on January 2, postponed, with the January 8 match against Toulon now “highly compromised”.

The Basque club have now pencilled in a return to play on January 30 against Agen, after a break of almost six weeks.

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