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All-Italian clash becomes fourth URC Round Nine postponement

By Paul Smith
Guglielmo Palazzani of Zebre Rugby looks for a pass. (Photo by Harry Trump / Getty Images)

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The Round Nine United Rugby Championship fixture between Benetton Rugby and Zebre Parma has become the latest match to fall victim to Omicron.

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The game was due to take place on Sunday January 2nd in Treviso, however, according to a statement issued by the URC Benetton Rugby have now reported a number of positive COVID-19 cases within their squad.

“The URC Medical Advisory Group has liaised with Benetton and the local health authorities and deemed that the fixture cannot go ahead as scheduled,” it continues.

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Ronan O’Gara
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Ronan O’Gara

“The United Rugby Championship will now consider available dates to reschedule the game.”

The all-Italian clash is the fourth postponement from the schedule of matches due to take place over the New Year period.

It follows yesterday’s news that positive Covid-19 cases reported by Cardiff, Dragons, Ulster and Glasgow Warriors had led to postponements of matches scheduled to take place in Newport, Belfast and Edinburgh.

Dragons v Cardiff Rugby
Ulster v Leinster
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors

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The games are also set to be re-scheduled for the future, however the number of available weeks are diminishing quickly, with a slew of prior matches already likely to be played during the Six Nations.

The last URC fixture to go ahead was played on Christmas Eve, when the first meeting of the two Italian rivals saw Benetton secure a 39-14 win over Zebre. The remaining seven matches of Round Eight were all postponed.

With a number of the Round Two clashes of the Champions and Challenge Cups called off the weekend prior, the likes of Leinster, Scarlets and Dragons haven’t played any fixtures since December 11.

Four further fixtures are scheduled for Saturday January 8th before the URC clubs play their European Champions Cup or European Challenge Cup round three and four ties over the course of the next two weekends.

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