Boss Steve Borthwick self-isolating due to Covid outbreak as Leicester host Bath

Leicester boss Steve Borthwick will miss Sunday’s Gallagher Premiership clash against his former club Bath while he self-isolates following a coronavirus outbreak at the Tigers.

Borthwick plans to link remotely from home with his staff on matchday, but Leicester defence coach and ex-Bath rugby director Mike Ford will head up operations at Welford Road.

Leicester had to forfeit their Boxing Day game against Newcastle because of Covid-19 cases in the camp.

“Steve Borthwick is one of several members of the Leicester Tigers club, including players and staff, who did not return to the club’s training ground on Thursday, December 31 when it reopened in preparation for Sunday’s Gallagher Premiership game against Bath Rugby,” Leicester said, in a statement.

“Borthwick and a handful of players and staff will not be present at Mattioli Woods Welford Road for the round-five fixture, and will continue to isolate at home into next week.

“The club returned a small number of positive tests in the latest round of PCR Covid-19 screening programme, and the decision has been made to ensure the safety and well-being of players and staff.

“All players and staff will be tested again in the next round of the PCR Covid-19 screening programme early next week ahead of the away game against Northampton Saints in round six.”

France v England – Guinness Six Nations – Stade de France
France v England – Guinness Six Nations – Stade de France

Leicester resumed training two days ago, and they are able to field a strong side for Bath’s visit that includes England internationals George Ford, Ben Youngs and Ellis Genge.

Genge and Dan Cole return to the front row alongside captain Tom Youngs, while flanker George Martin has recovered from injury to join back-row colleagues Hanro Liebenberg and Jasper Wiese.

Bath’s last two games were cancelled because of coronavirus issues, and they return to action for the first time since suffering a Heineken Champions Cup home defeat against the Scarlets on December 12.

📲 Match Preview

📺 Match Details💬 Stuart Hooper on the Premiership so far📊 Tigers' Form ⏪ Last Time Out #WeAreBath#LEIvBAT

— Bath Rugby (@BathRugby) January 1, 2021

Bath rugby director Stuart Hooper makes three changes from that match, with wing Semesa Rokoduguni replacing Joe Cokanasiga, fly-half Rhys Priestland back after concussion and Zach Mercer packing down at number eight.

“The bottom line is we are not where we want to be, but with a realisation that we are only five games into a block now that goes through until the end of June,” Hooper told Bath’s official website.

“There are parts of our game that have been positive, but ultimately we need to be better than what we have been consistently.”