The planned Guinness PRO14 restart will go ahead as scheduled this weekend in Ireland after the IRFU reported a clean bill of health following the latest round of coronavirus testing. 

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Conference A leaders Leinster are due to host Munster behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night, with Connacht set to face Ulster at the same ground the following day. 

There were concerns about the virus and whether it would affect the restart after a positive test was confirmed in Munster last week. However, those fears have now been dismissed and it will be all systems go in a tournament that has been on ice since Connacht’s March 1 win at Southern Kings.   

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A statement released on Thursday evening read: “The IRFU can confirm that the PCR testing of players and staff at all four provinces this week produced zero positive results – 308 players, staff and match officials were tested.

“The staff and players have been cleared to enter the next phase of their return to rugby which will see them compete in Guinness PRO14 fixtures at the weekend. Players and staff will be now be tested each match week.

“To date, there have been 915 tests conducted across the professional player and staff group and one positive test reported last week from the academy system.”

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Speaking about the latest test results for the virus, IRFU medical director Rod McLoughlin said: “I would like to acknowledge the incredible work of the medical teams, support staff, coaches and players in the provinces who have fully committed to the Covid protocols at their high performance centres and have enabled the return of professional rugby this weekend.

“Supporters can be assured that we will all continue to work hard to ensure that professional rugby continues to adhere to strict Covid protocols.”

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