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Leinster statement: Stephen's Day match versus Munster postponed

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Getty)

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Virus-hit Leinster have pulled out of the planned December 26 United Rugby Championship (URC) fixture versus Munster in Limerick, their second successive game to be beaten by an outbreak in their ranks. It was last Thursday when the plug was suddenly pulled on their Heineken Champions Cup trip to Montpellier. 

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Unlike the matches subsequently postponed on the Friday, EPCR outlined that the game in France was cancelled and that Montpellier had been awarded a 28-0, five-match points victory, a decision that disappointed the Leo Cullen-coached squad as they were adamant they had 23 players cleared by Public Health Ireland to travel safely. 

Now comes news that the Leinster URC trip to Munster is off. Traditionally one of the biggest fixtures anywhere in the festive rugby calendar, the match had already suffered the setback of new Irish government regulations setting a 5,000 crowd limit after all 26,000 tickets had been sold out weeks ago. 

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Those lucky 5,000 won’t now even get to go following the Leinster decision not to go ahead of the match in the current climate. A statement read: “It is with regret that Leinster announces that the URC game against Munster scheduled for St Stephen’s Day in Thomond Park has been postponed following discussions with Public Health and after consultation with the tournament organisers.

“Leinster Rugby would like to thank the board of the URC, the IRFU, Munster and the HSE for their understanding and cooperation on this matter. Leinster will resume training next Tuesday, December 28, at its UCD base and will start preparations for our New Year’s Day game against Ulster.”

That saga of the outbreak affecting Leinster originally emerged on December 10, the day before the Aviva Stadium Champions Cup win over Bath. The club at the time admitted that three senior players had tested positive for the virus. 

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