Newcastle-Leicester called off following coronavirus outbreak at Tigers

Newcastle’s home Gallagher Premiership match against Leicester on Boxing Day has been cancelled because of an outbreak of coronavirus at the Tigers.

Although only a small number of positives have been returned following Monday’s round of testing, the need for a large section of Leicester’s squad to self-isolate because of contact tracing means the game cannot go ahead.

A Premiership Rugby panel will now be convened to determine the allocation of points from the round four fixture.

Under new regulations brought in for the 2020-21 season, the decision will be made according to responsibility for the cancellation rather than fault, so two points will be awarded to the team that was responsible and four points to the team that was not.

“Our priority is the health and safety of everyone involved with Leicester and Newcastle and we will give the clubs any support they need,” a Premiership Rugby spokesperson said.

“Neither Premiership Rugby nor the club will be naming any of the players or staff involved and we’d ask everyone to respect their privacy.”

The news comes after four of last weekend’s 10 Champions Cup games were cancelled because of coronavirus.

Newcastle had earlier announced the signings of Santiago Grondona and Mateo Carreras from the Jaguares until the end of the season.

Grondona, 22, made his debut for Argentina in the historic victory over New Zealand last month, while Carreras is a wing for the Pumas’ sevens side.

“Santiago is a very powerful player, who at 6ft6in can make a real physical impact and Mateo has plenty of pace and footwork out wide,” Newcastle boss Dean Richards said.