Covid-19 blow: Montpellier v Leinster called off
NEWS: Friday’s European Champions Cup Round Two clash between Montpellier and Leinster due to new Covid-19 cases in the Irish squad.
An EPCR statement on Thursday confirmed that Montpellier have been awarded a 28-0 win according to tournament rules.
The news came after both teams announced their matchday squads for the clash.
“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,” the statement said.
“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 its “disappointment” over the decision.
“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,” the club said.
“As a result of these test results and the measures implemented by Leinster Rugby, a letter was issued today, Thursday, 16 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.
“While we are disappointed with the outcome of today’s decision, our focus now is the health and well-being of all our players and staff.”
The match is the second in the Champions Cup to be cancelled because of coronavirus after Scarlets forfeited their pool game against Bristol, saying their was “too much risk” with 32 players and staff locked in quarantine.
Montpellier also announced on Tuesday that a fifth member of their set-up had tested positive, forcing them to adapt training into separate groups. No new cases had been detected in tests carried out at the French club on Wednesday.