Rob Baxter confident Exeter on top of Covid-19 outbreak ahead of Gloucester game

Exeter will field a strong side for their Boxing Day showdown with Gloucester after undertaking additional rounds of coronavirus testing that have enabled them to get on top of the outbreak at Sandy Park.

The Chiefs’ defence of their Champions Cup crown was rocked when they returned a double-digit number of positives ahead of last weekend’s clash with Toulouse, forcing the game to be cancelled and the imposition of a 28-0 defeat for forfeiting.

But by completing another two rounds of testing and self-isolating as required, they have been able to stop the outbreak from spreading ahead of their return to Gallagher Premiership action.

An outbreak of coronavirus at Sandy Park forced the cancellation of Exeter's game against Toulouse
An outbreak of coronavirus at Sandy Park forced the cancellation of Exeter's game against Toulouse

“We will have a pretty strong squad to pick from based on players who have completed their isolation and guys who have now tested negative three times in a row,” director of rugby Rob Baxter said.

“And we’ll have a further test (on Thursday) morning to confirm… so we’re actually doubling up all our testing beyond that required by Premiership Rugby.

“That has enabled us to get on top of this scenario very quickly and we are fully expecting zero positives (on Thursday).

“Anyone who plays against Gloucester will have passed tests on Monday and Thursday. We did this last week and it’s really helped us make sure our isolation has worked and addressed any issue we’ve got.”