Wasps’ preparations for the October 24 Gallagher Premiership final have been hit by an outbreak of Covid-19 at the club. Four players and three members of backroom staff have produced positive results during the latest round of coronavirus testing.

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As a result, Wasps have cancelled training for the remainder of the week in a significant disruption to the build-up to their Twickenham clash with Exeter on October 24.

It is a significant setback in the build-up to their showdown with the Chiefs on Saturday week having emerged from lockdown as the Premiership’s form team. “The club’s medical team were informed of the test results following the latest round of the PCR Covid-19 screening programme,” a statement read.

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Racing’s Simon Zebo on the Champions Cup final with Exeter

“All seven, who are in good health overall, are now self-isolating and so are their close contacts. They will continue to follow Public Health England and Premiership Rugby guidelines and protocols.

“Everyone at Wasps sends their best wishes to the players and staff concerned. The club’s Covid-19 contact tracing, measures and protocols, which remain rigorous, will continue to be adhered to.”

The development comes a week after Sale’s rearranged final-round fixture against Worcester was cancelled due to an escalation of positive tests, lifting the Sharks’ total to 27. Wasps’ situation is far less severe, but the potential for the outbreak to spread means they face an anxious wait until the next round of testing.

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The situation at Wasps is in marked contrast to Exeter where Rob Baxter revealed the club had been given a clean bill of health following Covid tests ahead of their Champions Cup final with Racing this Saturday.

We haven’t got any, I don’t mind saying that,” said Baxter ahead of a possible EPCR medical situation on Thursday. “So the reality is that meeting will only go ahead if Racing have done some further testing this weekend and have got any further issues. I can’t tell you here and now, I don’t know.”   

Baxter added it was a nervous wait early morning on Wednesday to hear that his squad were in the clear from Covid. “We get tested on a Tuesday morning and we don’t start hearing the results until today – they started coming through at about twenty-past-five in the morning.

“I can tell you for a fact that virtually all the staff are sat there by their phones by five o’clock because it’s the thing that flips everything.

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“Immediately if you have a positive test come in you have got to start straightaway dealing with not only how you would change selection if some of your frontline 23 start going down, but also you have to start track and trace procedures. It’s always an interesting period of time and it has got more interesting as we have got to bigger and bigger games.”

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