The Heineken Champions Cup was dealt a hammer blow this week after two matches were cancelled due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Exeter Chiefs camp. The reigning champions were set to take on last season’s losing semi-finalists Toulouse at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday in what was promising to be one of the games of the pool stages. 


Aside from that match falling by the wayside, another repercussion of the outbreak at Exeter is that their opponents from last weekend, Glasgow Warriors, have also had their Champions Cup match against Lyon at Scotstoun cancelled. 

European Professional Club Rugby’s statement said: “As per its Covid-19 protocol, EPCR will convene the match result resolution committees to determine the results of the cancelled matches and the decisions of the committees will be communicated as soon as practicable.”

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David Strettle recalls taking Saracens on a party in Clermont

This problem with cancellations has already arisen this year in other competitions. Fiji were handed 28-0 losses in the matches they could not play in the recent Autumn Nations Cup, while a 20-0 loss was applied to Covid-hit teams in the final round of the Gallagher Premiership in October.  

The majority of fans know the drill by now and while this is an unfortunate reality in the current climate,  Glasgow fans feel they are entitled to preferential treatment in this Champions Cup situation. 

In this new format of the Champions Cup with only four rounds of rugby and two pools, two losses more or less would end Glasgow’s chance of progress which was already in jeopardy following last Sunday’s 42-0 loss at Sandy Park. 


In light of that win, Exeter are still in a position where they could survive despite forfeiting against Toulouse. A situation like this needs to be taken seriously and while it is wrong for one team to be penalised, the buck has to stop somewhere and that is with Exeter on this occasion. 

But Glasgow have come off worse from this in turn simply because they were Exeter’s last opponents and then fans want that to be taken into consideration before a result for the cancelled Lyon game is reached.

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