Bristol will be propelled into the Gallagher Premiership final against Exeter if Wasps fall to the outbreak of coronavirus that has placed their October 24 participation at Twickenham in doubt.
The Bears were crushed 47-24 at the Ricoh Arena in last Saturday’s play-off but would be given a reprieve on the strength of finishing higher than Bath – the other losing semi-finalist – at the end of the regular 2019/20 Premiership season earlier his month.
Four Wasps players and three members of backroom staff produced positive results for Covid-19 last Wednesday and are now self-isolating, with the club also cancelling training for the remainder of the week.
An additional batch of testing will take place on Saturday, with the results due on Monday, and then a final round will be conducted on Tuesday with the outcome to be announced the following day.
If a further spread of the disease prevents Wasps from facing Exeter in London, Bristol will then take their Premiership final place.
"If there are further positive tests and the worst-case scenario arises, they are fully prepared to forfeit the game next week"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 15, 2020
The contingency covering a team’s inability to take their place in the Twickenham final was drawn up in August by the professional game board as part of the return to play regulations post-lockdown.
With England facing Italy in the climax to the 2020 Six Nations a week later on October 31, there is no space in the calendar to rearrange the fixture.
Bristol would be in a state of readiness if they were to play Exeter, however, due to their appearance in the Challenge Cup final against Toulon on Friday night.
It means they must also undergo one last round of Premiership Rugby coronavirus testing on Tuesday as they are placed on standby.
After eight rounds of fixtures that were unaffected by Covid, the Premiership was plunged into chaos on the final weekend of the regulation season with a mass outbreak at play-off chasing Sale who eventually had to forfeit their game with Worcester. Gloucester vs Northampton was also cancelled.
"Southmead doesn’t get much good press but if I can inspire two, three kids to try to be a rugby player then that's good enough for me."
@BristolBears Joe Joyce is relishing taking on French aristocrats Toulon to make his hometown proud
— The XV (@TheXV) October 15, 2020
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