No Champions Cup action for Saints as competition is suspended

Saints will not be in Champions Cup action during the next two weeks as it has been confirmed that the competition has been temporarily suspended.

By Tom Vickers
Monday, 11th January 2021, 5:55 pm
Updated Monday, 11th January 2021, 5:56 pm
The Champions Cup has been temporarily suspended
The Champions Cup has been temporarily suspended

The black, green and gold, who returned to Franklin's Gardens for more Covid-19 tests earlier today after an outbreak that forced the cancellation of last Saturday's clash with Leicester, were due to host Leinster on Friday before travelling to Bordeaux eight days later.

But on Monday evening, European Professional Club Rugby announced the decision to suspend the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup following a directive from the French authorities that the participation of Top 14 clubs at the current time constitutes too great a public health risk.

An EPCR statement read: "EPCR and the Ligue Nationale de Rugby took part in a meeting by audio conference last week with representatives of the French ministries of the Interior, Health and Sport, as well as of the President’s office.

"Notable updates to EPCR’s Covid-19 protocols were presented to the French authorities, including the addition of PCR tests no earlier than three days before matches in the tournaments, conforming to French government guidelines and supplementing the existing, meticulous contact tracing measures put in place with a view to limiting the risk of transmission.

"Against the backdrop of the recent detection of a new strain of coronavirus, the French government has directed that French clubs postpone their participation in EPCR’s tournaments for the month of January, both for matches scheduled in France and for those due to be played in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

"On the basis of this directive, EPCR had no choice but to temporarily suspend the pool stage of the Heineken Champions Cup and the preliminary stage of the Challenge Cup.

"While respecting all further directives by governments and local authorities, and prioritising the health and welfare of players and club staff, EPCR, in conjunction with its shareholder leagues and unions, remains committed to trying to find a solution which will enable it to resume and complete the tournaments as soon as practicable.

"EPCR will be making no further comment at the present time."

Saints have not played since beating Worcester Warriors on Boxing Day and their next scheduled game as it stands is a Gallagher Premiership encounter at Gloucester on January 30.