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Sale say game with Worcester goes ahead despite Covid-19 cases

Sale’s last game was at Northampton on TuesdaySale say Sunday’s crucial Premiership game against Worcester will go ahead despite 16 individuals at Sharks testing positive for Covid-19.Steve Diamond’s side hope to avoid having to forfeit the game – triggering a 20-0 loss – and potentially relinquishing a top-four spot.Sharks are fourth, level on points with…

Northampton v Sale
Sale’s last game was at Northampton on Tuesday

Sale say Sunday’s crucial Premiership game against Worcester will go ahead despite 16 individuals at Sharks testing positive for Covid-19.

Steve Diamond’s side hope to avoid having to forfeit the game – triggering a 20-0 loss – and potentially relinquishing a top-four spot.

Sharks are fourth, level on points with Bristol, but with a superior points difference compared to the Bears.

However, Warriors have said the match is “still the subject of discussions”.

“A significant number of Sale players and staff tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday and have been re-tested as part of a rigorous process that applies to all clubs,” said Worcester in a statement issued on Friday night.

“The sole criterion for deciding whether a match can take place in the current unprecedented and worrying circumstances is the safety of officials and players and staff of both clubs and minimises the risk of anyone contracting and spreading this killer disease.

“Warriors would always prefer the outcome of a match to be decided on the pitch and will do so provided we are satisfied that all the Covid-19 protocols and procedures have been followed and no health risk is posed to our players and staff.

“At the moment we are still awaiting confirmation that those protocols and procedures can be met to allow Sunday’s match to proceed as scheduled.”

Sale, who said “the fixture can be fulfilled safely” after “thorough consultation”, have not confirmed how many players had tested positive, stating only that there were “a number” of cases.

Premiership Rugby has yet to comment, but has delayed all team selection information until 12:00 BST on Saturday, 3 October.external-link

All six fixtures on the last day of the Premiership season are scheduled to kick-off simultaneously on Sunday, with the top four teams progressing to the play-offs.

There could yet be a knock-on effect for Northampton, who played Sale in their previous match, losing 34-14.

Saints may have players forced to self-isolate under contact-tracing protocols, which would then put their fixture with Gloucester in doubt.

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.