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Newcastle-Sale clash called off due to Covid outbreak at Sharks

By PA
(Photo by PA)

Sale’s Gallagher Premiership match away to Newcastle on Boxing Day has been called off due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Sharks squad.

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Sale returned positive coronavirus tests overnight and “a significant number” of their squad have been ruled out of the match, Premiership Rugby said in a statement.

The Professional Game Board (PGB) testing oversight group and Sale have agreed the risk is too great for the game to go ahead safely.

A Premiership Rugby spokesperson said: “Our priority is the health and safety of everyone involved with Sale Sharks and Newcastle Falcons and we will give the clubs any support they need. We wish everyone affected a full and speedy recovery.

“Neither Premiership Rugby nor the club will be naming any of the players or staff involved and we’d ask everyone to respect their privacy.

Under the regulations, the match is cancelled and a Premiership Rugby panel will be convened to determine the allocation of points.

The announcement followed confirmation that Cardiff’s Boxing Day derby clash with Scarlets in the United Rugby Championship had been postponed.

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A number of positive Covid cases were found in the Cardiff squad.

Cardiff liaised with the URC medical advisory group and Public Health Wales and it was deemed that the fixture could not take place as scheduled.

The URC will now consider available dates to reschedule the game.

All four of the URC games scheduled for Boxing Day have now been called off.

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M
Mzilikazi 7 hours ago
Swashbuckling Hurricanes and Harlequins show scrum still matters

I always enjoy a good scrum based article. Thanks, Nick. The Hurricanes are looking more and more the team to beat down here in Australasia. They are a very well balanced team. And though there are far fewer scrums in the game these days, destructive power in that area is a serious weapon, especially an attacking scrum within in the red zone. Aumua looked very good as a young first year player, but then seemed to fade. He sure is back now right in the picture for the AB’s. And I would judge that Taukei’aho is in a bit of a slump currently. Watching him at Suncorp a few weeks ago, I thought he was not as dominant in the game as I would have expected. I am going to raise an issue in that scrum at around the 13 min mark. I see a high level of danger there for the TH lifted off the ground. He is trapped between the opposition LH and his own powerful SR. His neck is being put under potentially dangerous pressure. The LH has, in law , no right to use his superior scrummaging skill….getting his head right in on the breastbone of the TH…..to force him up and off the ground. Had the TH popped out of the scrum, head up and free, there is no danger, that is a clear penalty to the dominant scrum. The law is quite clear on this issue: Law 37 Dangerous play and restricted practices in a scrum. C:Intentionally lifting an opponent off their feet or forcing them upwards out of the scrum. Sanction: Penalty. Few ,if any, referees seem to be aware of this law, and/or the dangers of the situation. Matthew Carly, refereeing Clermont v Munster in 2021, penalised the Munster scrum, when LH Wycherly was lifted very high, and in my view very dangerously, by TH Slimani. Lifting was coached in the late ‘60’s/70’s. Both Lions props, Ray McLouglin, and “Mighty Mouse” McLauchlan, were expert and highly successful at this technique. I have seen a photo, which I can’t find online atm, of MM with a NZ TH(not an AB) on his head, MM standing upright as the scrum disintegrates.

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