Hours before kick-off of the Champions Cup clash between Leinster and Toulon, EPCR confirmed that the game has been cancelled.
The outcome of the clash has not been confirmed, however, according to EPCR's Match Day Operating Standards and COVID-19 Protocols Leinster will proceed to the quarter-finals of the competition.
The regulation reads:
'If it is deemed that a match might be in doubt due to, for example, a club having one or more positive PCR test results arising from testing three days prior to kick-off, EPCR’s Match Day Medical Risk Assessment Committee will meet to determine whether the match can be played safely.
If a match cannot be played safely, it will be cancelled and the club whose COVID-19 status has NOT forced the cancellation will progress to the next round. If the COVID-19 status of BOTH clubs forces a match cancellation, or if there is some other reason why a match is unable to go ahead at the scheduled time, then the matter will be referred to a Match Result Resolution Committee to determine which club (if any) will progress to the next round."
Following the news of the cancellation, Toulon have released a statement expressing their 'amazement of the decision by the EPCR to cancel the clash'
The statement went out to say that 'while the PCR tests performed on the entire squad on Monday, March 29th all had negative results, the tests carried out on Wednesday, March 31st revealed a positive case, that of a Toulon forward.'
Toulon say they followed the protocols of the competition and immediately notified EPCR and the National Rugby League with the player in question has been placed in self quartine.
The EPCR responded a few hours later to ask further questions of the RCT doctor. The latter then answered the entire questionnaire submitted.
The EPCR then requested "contact tracing" for the player in question. The RCT provided it as soon as possible, specifying that the departure for Ireland was set for Thursday morning (April 1). The EPCR analyzed, with the support of an independent doctor, the "contact tracing" file provided by the RCT. At the end (Thursday morning), the EPCR asked the club to perform a new PCR test on the entire Red & Black squad in Ireland.
These tests were therefore carried out in Dublin and all the results came out negative.
The statement went on to say that the EPCR considered the results on Friday morning (a few hours before the match), that all the front rowers were considered as contact cases and that they could not take part in the match, offering the possibility of shifting the game to Sunday on condition of replacing the 6 front rowers. An obvious sporting impossibility, the statement said.
The statement concluded by saying: 'This is once again proof of the errors linked to the organization of European competitions. The EPCR left the players and staff to travel to Ireland, prepare for the match, only to deprive them of playing in this major event within hours of kick-off.
Rugby Club Toulonnais strongly deplores this decision and sends its thoughts to all its supporters who were impatiently awaiting this meeting.'