BREAKING NEWS: Covid-hit Sale’s final Premiership game against Worcester tonight is set to be CALLED OFF after further tests on the squad – shattering their play-off hopes
- Sale Sharks have already had a Covid outbreak leading to 19 positive tests
- Among those at the Premiership side include 16 players and three staff members
- Club had declared they would forfeit fixture if more positive tests were identified
- Decision to forfeit would see them miss out chance to land Premiership title
Sale’s rescheduled Premiership game against Worcester, due to take place on Wednesday night, is set to be called off following the Cheshire club’s latest round of Covid testing.
The Sharks declared earlier this week that they would forfeit the fixture if they received any more positive results, following an outbreak which has already led to 16 players and three staff members testing positive.
Their latest tests took place Tuesday morning, with the results expected in the early hours of Wednesday and MailOnline Sport understands that Sale have received the news they were dreading.
Sale were due to face off against Worcester on Wednesday night at the AJ Bell Stadium
If it is confirmed that there have been further positive results, that would shatter their hopes of playing the postponed match against Worcester – and their title aspirations.
SALE TEAM TO PLAY WORCESTER
Sale: L James; Solomona, S James, Hill, Yarde; R du Preez, Cliff; Harrison, Neild, Morozov, Postlethwaite, J-L du Preez, Ross (capt), Curry, D du Preez
Replacements: Ashman, Ford, Jones, Murphy, Dugdale, Bedlow, Curtis, Doherty
Sale were desperate to fulfil the fixture and snatch a place in the play-offs, but it appears that the top four will remain unchanged, meaning table-topping Exeter will face fourth-placed Bath at Sandy Park on Saturday, hours after Wasps have hosted Bristol at the Ricoh Arena.
Steve Diamond, Sale’s director of rugby, on Tuesday named a strong ‘Covid compliant’ starting XV for the fixture, due to kick-off at 7.45pm at the AJ Bell Stadium.
A decision on the fixture must be made by Premiership Rugby, in conjunction with the RFU and Public Health England.
The RFU were on Tuesday night concluding an audit of Sale’s track and trace processes and a review of data and footage which will determine if players chosen by Diamond meet certain thresholds.
It is understood anyone judged to have had more than 15 minutes of face-to-face or ‘skin-to-skin’ contact with another player who has tested positive cannot play.
So much is at stake for Sale, hence their desperation to fulfil the fixture. Worcester have nothing tangible to play for now their hopes of qualifying for the Heineken Champions Cup have been dashed.
Worcester reserve the right to act in their own best interests, even if the authorities deem it safe to play. The visitors are due to set off from their ground, Sixways, at 12.30pm ahead of the fixture.
Sources indicate that Warriors players were convinced the postponed match would not take place.
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