Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick is having to work remotely after testing positive for COVID-19 but will still take charge of team affairs despite being unable to be at Sunday’s home match with Bath.
Borthwick is one of several players and staff who did not return to the club’s training ground on Thursday and will continue to isolate at home into next week in what is the second major disruption caused by the pandemic. Previously, the Tigers training ground was closed down due to the virus but the latest outbreak is smaller and Borthwick is adamant the club is doing everything possible to minimise the impact on their Premiership campaign.
Leicester were awarded two points when positive tests forced the cancellation of their game with Newcastle who received four points while Bath also picked up four points after London Irish were unable to play their match.
Coaches Mike Ford, Aled Walters and Brett Deacon, assisted by Matt Smith and Tom Harrison will take charge of the team at the ground against Bath with Borthwick offering his input from home. Borthwick said: “I will be managing the team from home and I am always in dialogue with the coaches from afar and making changes in real time.
“I am fine and the impact has been that we trained yesterday and today for the Bath game. There are several positive tests this week and last week and there are some players who, although they are out of the isolation period, have not recovered well enough to play but will be right for next week.
“The club acted swiftly when we had positive tests on our return from France ( where they played Bayonne) and we shut down immediately with players isolating at home. There has been ( for Bath) 10 days individual training and two days team training in preparation to play.
“There are a lot of people in the world in a worse situation than we are in. It is disappointing and frustrating not be able to coach this week but we get on with it and have contingency plans in place. We are all more used top working remotely – would we like more preparation time on the training pitch , yes, but that is not going happen. We knew we would only have a couple of days team training going into this game.
“I will be watching the game and will be in contact with the coaches and analysts at the ground.”
Wing Kobus Van Wyk returns from injury to join Freddie Steward, Jaco Taute, Matt Scott and Nemani Nadolo in the backline with England international colleagues George Ford and Ben Youngs at half-back. Up front Ellis Genge and Dan Cole return to the front row with captain Tom Youngs.
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