Racing 92 have announced that they have returned a number of positive tests for coronavirus just over two weeks before their Champions Cup final against Exeter.
Reports in France state that nine people across the club’s playing and/or backroom staff must self-isolate, resulting in the postponement of their Top 14 league match against La Rochelle on Saturday.
The Parisians face Exeter in Bristol on October 17 having edged out champions Saracens in the semi-finals last weekend.
“Tests carried out on the entire professional group on Wednesday morning revealed several positive cases,” a Racing statement read.
A superb #HeinekenChampionsCup battle with a stunning conclusion 💥
Relive the best bits from that sensational semi-final clash 🎥 pic.twitter.com/10CNlDr2Lk
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) September 27, 2020
Although the identities of those affected have not been disclosed, it is a significant setback as the big-spending French heavyweights attempt to win their first European title in three appearances in the final.
Exeter boss Rob Baxter insists the news is a reminder of the disruption that can be caused by Covid-19.
“It’s something we’ll have to look at, but the reality is that it’s something we don’t want to think about too much,” Baxter said.
“It could be nine players well outside their first-team squad, or four of them could be members of staff and the others are training normally as a group.
“We are continually telling the players that it’s what they do away from the club that’s the most important thing.
“When you turn up to the club – and I know I have to be a little bit careful here – it’s virtually impossible to catch Covid in the facility because everyone here is being tested regularly.
“If someone tests positive they’re isolated immediately. Everyone is health checked and temperature checked every day.
“The reality is that Covid only comes in if someone brings it in, so it’s what you do away from the facility that’s important and we’re constantly reminding the players of that.
“Because as we’ve seen, any little mishap can lead to a big problem.”