Latest setback for Rainbow Cup sees Ulster versus Scarlets cancelled
The much-maligned Rainbow Cup has suffered its latest hitch with Saturday’s Ulster versus Scarlets match cancelled after four players belonging to the Irish province tested positive for Covid-19. A tournament that was supposed to be lit up by three rounds of cross-hemisphere action before a finals weekend has been on the back foot since it had to cancel those European versus South African franchise fixtures.
Tournament organisers finally came up with a venue willing to host the Rainbow Cup final, announcing on Thursday that Treviso will stage the decider next month which will be contested by the winners of the respective north and south conferences.
However, not long after that Italian venue emerged as the surprise host for the showpiece, it was confirmed that one of this weekend’s matches had fallen by the wayside.
An Ulster statement read: “The latest round of PCR testing at Ulster, which was carried out yesterday [Wednesday], has returned four positive results. These individuals are currently asymptomatic and now self-isolating in line with public health protocols.
“The Public Health Agency has been informed and Ulster is continuing to follow its internal contact tracing process. Further PCR testing of players and staff is due to take place tomorrow [Friday] and all training at senior and academy level has been suspended until further notice.
This one-off tournament just gets curiouser and curiouser…
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 27, 2021
“The 500 spectators who were due to attend the fixture will receive a full refund. With no available weekends remaining, the game will not be rescheduled. As a result, PRO14 has deemed the fixture a 0-0 draw and awarded four match points to Scarlets.”
Ulster CEO Jonny Petrie added: “We appreciate the news that our upcoming fixture is cancelled will be deeply disappointing for our supporters, particularly those who were due to join us at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday, but we are in complete agreement that the collective decision to cancel the match is the correct one.
“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of our players and staff, as well as the wider community, so we will continue to work closely, together with the IRFU, with the Public Health Agency to ensure that we follow the necessary public health advice, as we provide support to the individuals involved.”
"I could easily have been rocking around Belfast going ‘I play for Ulster’, wearing all my Ulster tracksuits and living in fantasy land."@NiallAnnett2, speaking on the @RugbyTelf podcast, urges more fringe Irish talent to look overseas for playing time https://t.co/9vbb1aL9F0
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 25, 2021
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