London Irish Covid-19 outbreak leads to Bath game being called off

A second Gallagher Premiership match scheduled for Boxing Day has fallen to coronavirus after Bath’s home clash with London Irish was cancelled.

Irish returned only a small number of positives from Monday’s round of testing but were forced to act when additional players presented with symptoms on Tuesday.

The round four fixture suffers the same fate as Newcastle’s clash with Leicester, which was called off because of an outbreak of coronavirus at Welford Road.

The cancellation of Irish’s visit to the Recreation Ground was made in conjunction with Public Health England.

“We were really looking forward to going to The Rec on Boxing Day, so we’re incredibly disappointed that we’re unable to fulfil the fixture,” Exiles director of rugby Declan Kidney said.

“I’m really disappointed for the players, as they’ve acted professionally, following all the relevant guidelines, but this is the situation we find ourselves in at the moment as the country continues to try and navigate its way through the pandemic.”

A Premiership Rugby panel will determine the allocation of points with Bath set to be awarded four points and Irish, as the club responsible for the game being called off, only two.

London Irish boss Declan Kidney says his players have acted professionally
London Irish boss Declan Kidney says his players have acted professionally

“The health and safety of players, staff, management, officials and supporters is our only priority, so the decision has been taken to call the game off,” a Premiership Rugby spokesperson said.

“We will give London Irish all the support they need and hope that those who have tested positive will make a swift and successful recovery.

“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.