Coronavirus concerns for Salford ahead of cup final but Hull KR game goes ahead

Rugby league Challenge Cup finalists Salford have announced two players have tested positive for coronavirus just four days before their Wembley showdown with Leeds.

The unnamed pair are now self-isolating, as are two other players as a precaution after their results from the latest two rounds of routine Covid-19 testing came back inconclusive.

The Red Devils were already without eight other players due to injury for Tuesday’s Super League match against Hull KR at Warrington but have decided to honour the fixture to protect the competition’s integrity.

Hull KR coach Tony Smith has revealed the game against Salford was almost called off
Hull KR coach Tony Smith has revealed the game against Salford was almost called off

It was a game that had already been placed into jeopardy earlier in the day after Rovers reported tests on two of their players had also proved inconclusive.

At one stage Rovers had only 15 players available before they were told certain individuals would be able to play. The afternoon kick-off was put back an hour while the matter was resolved.

Coach Tony Smith said: “We’ve had a couple of inconclusive tests and apparently they’re not allowed to play. I think they were checking to see who else may have been affected if they come back positive.

“We were sat on the bus for an hour and a half or so while they decided how we were going to attack this, whether we kept going with it or not. We’re grateful and probably lucky to be playing this afternoon. It was close.”

A Republic of Ireland football player has also tested positive for Covid-19 and withdrawn from the squad ahead of Wednesday’s UEFA Nations League game in Finland.

A statement from the Football Association of Ireland read: “The player, who initially tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday night, is now out of the Ireland squad for the UEFA Nations League game in Finland after the second of two tests on Monday produced a positive result.”

Manager Stephen Kenny has no plans to call up a replacement.

EFL statement: Oxford United v Crewe

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Meanwhile, Crewe’s League One fixture at Oxford has been postponed for a second time.

The match was rearranged for Tuesday after being postponed just 30 minutes before the original kick-off time on October 3 when a Crewe player tested positive.

A statement from the EFL said that Crewe “have determined they are unable to fulfil the fixture”.

Paul Warne, the Rotherham manager, has entered a period of self-isolation after one of his family members tested positive.

Warne will miss the Millers’ Championship games against Norwich on Saturday and Nottingham Forest next Tuesday.

Assistant boss Richie Barker and first-team coach Matt Hamshaw will be in charge on the touchline with Warne involved via video-link.

Rotherham manager Paul Warne is self-isolating
Rotherham manager Paul Warne is self-isolating

Warne said: “At this moment, I don’t have coronavirus, I don’t have any symptoms. But because of Covid restrictions, I have to self-isolate and stay away from the squad for two weeks.”

In snooker, Peter Lines has become the latest player to withdraw from the English Open in Milton Keynes after returning a positive coronavirus test. His son Oliver Lines, also competing, was forced to pull out as well due to his close contact, despite testing negative prior to his first-round win over Noppon Saengkham.

They follow the withdrawals of fellow players Stuart Carrington and Sam Craigie, and referee Andrew Barklam, on Monday.

South African golfer Jbe Kruger has been withdrawn from this week’s Scottish Championship after testing positive.

Kruger, who is asymptomatic, was tested upon his arrival at Fairmont St Andrews on Monday as part of the pre-tournament screening process. He will now remain in self-isolation for a minimum of 10 days in accordance with mandatory Public Health Scotland and NHS Fife guidelines.