Exeter issue Covid testing all-clear after 5am Wednesday start
Exeter boss Rob Baxter has confirmed his Chiefs have been given a clean bill of health following the latest round of Covid-19 testing of his double-chasing squad ahead of Saturday’s Champions Cup decider in Bristol.
The English side, who will also play in the October 24 Gallagher Premiership final, were tested on Tuesday ahead of the European showpiece against Racing and the results that came back were all-clear for them to continue uninterrupted with preparations for their first-ever Champions Cup final.
Baxter revealed Exeter had no concerns in their playing group ahead of a Thursday morning EPCR meeting between the finalists that would be convened if either club reported any positive Covid tests.
Racing had nine positive tests in their camp in the week following their semi-final win over Saracens. That resulted in their Top 14 match at La Rochelle being postponed but they were back in action last Saturday against Toulouse with a dozen of the matchday 23 that had featured against Saracens.
“We are aware they had a large number of Covid tests and we haven’t heard any more since then,” said Baxter. “We’ve got a medical review meeting planning Thursday morning but that will only go ahead if there are numbers of Covid tests with both teams.
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“We haven’t got any, I don’t mind saying that. 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.
“What they have done training-wise, I believe they have been in a camp in Corsica to prepare. A large amount of the squad went last week pre the game – this is me only reading the press. A group went to Corsica and none of them attended the actual game against Toulouse.
“There were some front-line players involved and I assume they have met up and have trained fully with the group in Corsica in semi-isolation. I can’t say any more than that training-wise.
“I imagine they have moved into a pretty good training base and the sessions would have been relatively similar to a standard training week. I can’t tell you any more than that. We certainly haven’t got a spy in the camp and we certainly haven’t been able to pick up any more information than that.”
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.
“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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