Covid outbreak forces Saracens to forfeit European tie against Pau | Saracens

Saracens have been forced to forfeit Saturday’s European Challenge Cup fixture against Pau due to a significant Covid-19 outbreak, leaving Mark McCall’s side struggling to qualify from their pool.

The north London club has closed its training ground and all players and support staff have been isolated following the outbreak. With a number of close contacts also identified and factoring in injuries, Saracens, who lost last weekend’s European opener against Edinburgh, said they were unable to field a 23-man squad against Pau, who have been awarded a 28-0 victory.

Saracens’ squad will not reconvene for training until Christmas Eve, following the necessary period of isolation, but insisted that their Boxing Day fixture against Worcester will go ahead as scheduled.

“The club has taken the immediate action of closing the training ground and isolating all players, coaches and support staff,” read a Saracens statement. “We have been working closely with [the tournament organisers] EPCR and PRL and it is with regret that our game versus [Pau] in the Challenge Cup on Saturday 18 December has had to be forfeited by Saracens due to our inability to field a 23-man squad for this fixture.

“In addition to positive Covid-19 cases, we have players self-isolating due to being close contacts and a number of players who are injured. The need to forfeit the fixture will result in a 28-0 loss to Pau, and five match points to Pau as set out in the EPCR tournament rules.

“This is extremely disappointing for everyone at the club but as always the health and wellbeing of our people is our priority at this time.

“The squad will return to full training on 24 December following the necessary period of isolation. We would like to reassure our supporters that our Premiership fixture versus Worcester Warriors on 26 December will still take place and we very much look forward to seeing you all at StoneX Stadium for a feast of festive rugby.”

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