Glasgow’ festive 1872 Cup meetings with Edinburgh are in doubt after 20 of the Warriors squad were forced into self-isolation and Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup match with Lyon was cancelled.
More than 20 players and staff from the Exeter Chiefs, who beat the Warriors 42-0 on Saturday, have tested positive for Covid-19. All but three of the Glasgow squad for that game have been deemed as close contacts.
Our #ChampionsCup fixture against Lyon scheduled for this weekend has been cancelled.
20 of our matchday 23 from last weekend are now self-isolating after several Exeter Chiefs players and staff tested positive for COVID-19.https://t.co/E0xThYQFzI
— Glasgow Warriors (@GlasgowWarriors) December 16, 2020
Glasgow’s next HCC game against Lyon at Scotstoun on Saturday has been cancelled, as has Exeter’s meeting with Toulouse. But the Warriors’ two games against Edinburgh – on December 27 at Scotstoun and at BT Murrayfield on January 2 – are also now in question.
The Warriors players were tested for Covid-19 on Wednesday – a routine and pre-planned session – and none so far have exhibited any symptoms. They are likely to be tested again on Friday and early next week as the possible incubation period for the virus infection continues.
The 20 players will be self-isolating for at least 10 days, if no positive tests occur. That would free them for training next Wednesday at the earliest, with the first match against Edinburgh set for Sunday.
‘Positive tests will require another 10 days’ isolation’
Any positive tests taken during the first spell of self-isolation will require another 10 days of isolation. If as many as 15 players are cleared by Wednesday, the 1872 fixture could likely go ahead, but until test results become apparent the fixtures must be in doubt.
The decision to cancel Saturday’s game was made after they were informed of the Exeter situation, which was then related to Murrayfield and to Public Health Scotland.
“Our Heineken Champions Cup game against Lyon on Saturday (19 December) has been cancelled,” read a club statement.
“A total of 20 Glasgow Warriors players from the match-day 23 in Exeter last Sunday are now self-isolating after several Exeter Chiefs players and staff tested positive for Covid-19.
‘Glasgow Warriors immediately consulted Public Health Scotland’
“On discovery Glasgow Warriors immediately consulted Public Health Scotland to determine this outcome and has the support of Scottish Rugby’s Threat Management Group.
“With a significant number of players self-isolating and an extensive injury list, the decision has been taken that it is not safe to play on Saturday. Exeter’s round two game against Toulouse is also cancelled.
“EPCR will convene Match Result Resolution Committees to determine the results of the cancelled matches and the decisions of the committees will be communicated as soon as practicable.”
Only three members of the Glasgow matchday squad of 23 from Saturday have not been required to self-isolate, and these are believed to be late back replacements and wings who did not come into contact with Exeter players confirmed as infected.
Exeter have four Scotland international players who played in Saturday’s game – Scotland captain Stuart Hogg, forwards Jonny Gray and Sam Skinner, and reserve scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne.
‘Club has reviewed stringent Covid-19 protocols’
“Glasgow Warriors will now turn its attention to mitigating any further risks to its squad to protect the upcoming 1872 Cup fixtures against Edinburgh in the Guinness PRO14,” continued the club statement.
“The club has reviewed the stringent Covid-19 protocols that it has put in place for its squad and commends its players and staff who have been exemplary in following these during this period.”
The Heineken Champions Cup competition rules mean that it’s now almost certain the match resolution committee will determine a statutory 28-0 victory be awarded to Lyon.
Although the Warriors’ role in the infection scare is thus far only as a result of contact, they are likely to be deemed to be the club that has not allowed the fixture to proceed.
Added to Saturday’s heavy defeat at Exeter, this means the Warriors’ European campaign is effectively over.