'D-day' for Wasps creeps closer
PREMIERSHIP FINAL SPOTLIGHT: Wasps’ place in Saturday’s Premiership final against European champions Exeter is in serious doubt after the club recorded four more positive coronavirus tests.
It means the club have now returned a total of 11 positive tests, including players and backroom staff, since last week and as a result, training continues to be suspended.
A decision on whether it is safe for Wasps to take part in the climax to the season at Twickenham will be made after the final round of testing, the results of which are due on Wednesday.
If Lee Blackett’s side are ruled out of the showpiece, they would be replaced by Bristol, who finished third in the league and lost to Wasps in the play-off semi-finals earlier this month.
“Following an additional round of Covid-19 testing on Saturday, Wasps can confirm that four more members of the playing department have tested positive,” Wasps said in a statement.
“Those concerned are now self-isolating, as are their close contacts.
“After consultation with the medical leads at Premiership Rugby, the RFU (Rugby Football Union) and Public Health England, the club will continue not to train at this stage.”
Even if Wasps are given the all-clear to take part in a repeat of the 2017 final, their inability to train since the start of last week is a major disruption to their preparations.
Four players and three members of the backroom staff tested positive last week, but on this occasion the six-time English champions have not given the breakdown of which personnel are affected.
If Bristol replace Wasps, it would mean a match between the winners of Europe’s two cup competitions.
Exeter beat Racing 92 on Saturday to win the Champions Cup for the first time while Bristol beat Toulon in the Challenge Cup final in France the previous day.
With England away to Italy in the final round of the virus-delayed 2020 Six Nations a week later, officials have decided there is no room left in this season’s calendar to reschedule the Premiership final.