Premier­ship still op­ti­mistic about restart de­spite 10 pos­i­tive tests

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Daniel Schofield

Gal­lagher Premier­ship Rugby has re­vealed that there have been 10 pos­i­tive re­sults for coro­n­avirus in its first round of test­ing, in­clud­ing six play­ers and four staff.

Premier­ship Rugby’s in­fec­tion rate of 1.2 per cent is re­garded as a suc­cess by in­sid­ers and within the ex­pected range of re­sults. Bar­ring a surge, they are on track to recom­mence league matches on Aug 14.

A to­tal of 805 tests were car­ried out on Mon­day morn­ing, while clubs were still in stage one of its re­turn-to-play pro­gramme. The pos­i­tive in­di­vid­u­als will now be re­quired to iso­late for a fort­night along with those in close con­tact.

The test­ing regime, which was seen as the big­gest bar­rier to the Premier­ship’s re­turn, is be­ing ad­min­is­tered by Ran­dox Health at an es­ti­mated cost of £100,000 a week. Sara­cens, Har­lequins, Worces­ter War­riors and Northamp­ton Saints have all con­firmed that their clubs had re­turned pos­i­tive cases.

Le­ices­ter scrum-half Ben Youngs said that he was un­aware of any pos­i­tive cases at the Tigers. “I would be naive to think out of 800 play­ers be­ing tested that you are not go­ing to get a few,” Youngs said.

Premier­ship Rugby’s great­est chal­lenge will be what hap­pens once a pos­i­tive test is re­turned from a for­ward in­volved in maul­ing prac­tice. A track-and-trace op­er­a­tion has been set up to en­sure af­fected in­di­vid­u­als are iden­ti­fied quickly.

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