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Premiership Rugby club forced to forfeit crucial match after players test positive for coronavirus

Written by on 7 October 2020

Premiership Rugby club Sale Sharks have been forced to forfeit their crucial upcoming match against Worcester Warriors after a further six players tested positive for COVID-19.

The Cheshire outfit had said earlier this week that they would forfeit the clash on Wednesday night if there were more confirmed coronavirus cases, having already reported more than a dozen last week.

More tests on Tuesday showed a further eight COVID-19 cases at the club, including two staff.

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Last week, 16 players and three members of staff at Sale tested positive prior to their final league game of the season, originally scheduled for Sunday.

It means Worcester are awarded a 20-0 win and Sale miss out on the play-offs, with the final spot handed to Bath.

“This is devastating, the players and staff with COVID-19 denying the club the chance to challenge for the Premiership title at the final hurdle,” Sale said in a statement.

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“Sale Sharks and all involved with the club are determined to come back stronger than ever in time for next season.”

The club said: “Although everyone at Sale Sharks is disappointed to see our campaign end in this manner, the club wholly understand that the welfare of players, staff and officials is the most important factor.”

The statement added that reports over the weekend suggesting players acted irresponsibly by partying and socialising throughout Manchester after their Premiership Rugby Cup victory are “completely inaccurate and untrue”.

Worcester welcomed the decision and also extended their sympathies to Sale, wishing those affected a “speedy recovery”.

“Sadly, we are playing rugby in the middle of a pandemic and in unprecedented circumstances,” a club statement said.

“While it is desirable to retain the integrity of all competitions as much as possible, ultimately the health and safety of all involved has to be the absolute priority.

“Now we know that our own players are not at any increased risk.”