Wasps will find out this morning if they have been prevented from taking their place in the Gallagher Premiership final by an outbreak of coronavirus.
The results of the last round of testing completed yesterday will be known in the early hours with the Coventry club desperate to avoid any additions to the seven players and four backroom staff diagnosed with COVID-19 to date.
If they are unable to safely field a team and forced to withdraw, then Bristol will face Exeter at Twickenham in Saturday’s climax to the domestic season.
Update from Wasps concerning COVID-19 testing…https://t.co/waCm55pD6f
— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) October 19, 2020
An oversight committee including representatives from the Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby will make the final call in conjunction with Public Health England.
For Wasps to be removed from the final would be a sickening blow given their emergence from lockdown as the Premiership’s form team under the guidance of head coach Lee Blackett.
Even if given the all-clear to take part in a repeat of the 2017 final, their chances of preventing Exeter from completing the double will be undermined by the cancellation of training since the first batch of positive tests were announced a week ago.
Even Bristol boss Pat Lam has admitted that the Bears being promoted into the Twickenham showpiece having been hammered 47-24 in the semi-final at the Ricoh Arena on October 10 is unsatisfactory.
Bristol would be given their reprieve on the strength of finishing the regular Premiership season in third.
“We absolutely believe that Wasps and Exeter should be contesting this final. They thoroughly deserve it,” Lam said.
“Lee has done an unbelievable job and it’s fantastic for the Premiership to see what Exeter did on Saturday in winning the Champions Cup.
“We ourselves have been put in a situation that isn’t ideal, but everything with COVID isn’t ideal, including the fact we’re waiting for the final to be played now at the end of the season we’ve had.”