Covid-19 drives Glasgow Warriors’ cancellation of the Champions Cup

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GLASGOW are anxiously waiting to see if the Champions Cup organizers can punish them for failing to play their match against Lyon.

After 20 members of the Warriors squad went into self-isolation as a precautionary measure, the game, which should have taken place at Scotstoun on Saturday, was called off today. This was in reaction to the news received by Glasgow on Tuesday that several players and staff from Exeter Chiefs had tested positive.

All 20 self-isolated Glasgow players were present at Sandy Park for last Sunday’s 42-0 loss to the Chiefs. None had tested positive for Covid as of this afternoon.

Although postponed PRO14 matches have been rescheduled this season, as tournament organizer European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) has determined that there is no more room in the crowded calendar, the Champions and Challenge Cups have not. Instead, an EPCR committee will discuss how to accommodate Sunday’s Glasgow-Lyon match and Exeter’s also postponed game in Toulouse.

Although it is not the fault of anyone at the Warriors that some of Exeter’s workers tested positive, Scotstoun worries that their team would be ruled ineligible to play. Such a decision would result in a 28-0 victory being awarded to Lyon – a result that would dash the already faint hopes of Glasgow of qualifying for the quarterfinals.

Head coach Danny Wilson will literally not have enough squad members left to take on Lyon with a range of players on the disabled list to add to their own 20. Since March, with no rugby played below professional level in Scotland, he wouldn’t even be able to call on Super6 semi-professional teams.

In a statement released by the EPCR, the cancellation of the two matches was confirmed late yesterday afternoon [Wed]. It read, “The EPCR has been informed that a number of Exeter Chiefs players and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 and that the club will not be able to provide a squad for the match against Toulouse at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday (20 December), in accordance with public health guidelines. Therefore, the match for Pool B will be cancelled.”

“Glasgow Warriors have told EPCR that many of their senior players are now isolating themselves in compliance with public health guidelines after playing Exeter Chiefs in the first round of the tournament. As a result, for Saturday’s (December 19) Heineken Champions Cup second round match against Lyon at Scotstoun Stadium, the club will not field an appropriate squad. Therefore, the Pool B match between Glasgow Warriors and Lyon has also been cancelled.

The EPCR Match Outcome Resolution Committees will be convened in compliance with the COVID-19 protocol to determine the outcomes of the postponed matches and the decisions of the committees will be announced as soon as possible.

“Shortly after, Glasgow issued its own statement saying, “A total of 20 Glasgow Warriors players from matchday 23 at Exeter last Sunday are now self-isolated after many Exeter Chiefs players and staff tested positive for COVID-19. The decision has been taken that it is not possible to play on Saturday, with a large number of players self-isolating and a long injury list.

“Glasgow Warriors will now focus on minimizing further risks to their squad in order to protect their upcoming Guinness PRO14 Cup fixtures against Edinburgh. The club has reviewed the strict COVID-19 protocols it has put in place for its squad and commends its players and staff for their exemplary adherence to them during this period.”

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