Rugby-Five Champions Cup Matches Cancelled, Declared 0-0 Draws


PARIS: Five Champions Cup matches that were postponed because of the French government’s COVID-19 travel restrictions have been cancelled, organisers announced on Tuesday.

The five games, and two more in the Challenge Cup, will be classified as 0-0 results.

This weekend’s third round fixtures are expected to go ahead as scheduled, however, with the French government set to lift a mandatory 48-hour isolation period for visitors.

Travellers from the UK must currently self-isolate upon arrival on French territory.

The isolation can be waived after 48 hours on presentation of a negative COVID-19 test, but English clubs were nevertheless contemplating a boycott over the shortened quarantine, given the extra costs and scheduling problems involved.

“The 48-hour (isolation) rule imposed on UK citizens is expected to be lifted since the virus is circulating as much here (in France) as in the UK,” a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The French sports ministry said in a statement that decisions about sports teams will be “formalised in the next few days but we are moving towards greater flexibility.”

News of the round-two cancellations will come as a huge blow, however, with organisers EPCR saying they had been left with no alternative.

It had been hoped the matches could have been played at a later date.

“The options of modifying the tournament formats and/or rescheduling the matches were deliberated in great detail,” an EPCR statement said.

“…However, in an increasingly complex fixture calendar due to COVID-19, it was regrettably decided that the only choice in the circumstances was to cancel the matches.”

The cancelled matches are: Bath v Stade Rochelais, Sale Sharks v ASM Clermont Auvergne, Scarlets v Union Bordeaux-Begles, Stade Toulousain v Wasps and Stade Francais Paris v Bristol Bears. Each team will be awarded two points.

EPCR said thanked all participating clubs “for their patience and understanding in what are extremely difficult times.”

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