Premiership Rugby have confirmed that it is carrying out an urgent review ahead of Sunday’s final round of Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches.

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16 Sale players tested positive for Covid-19, plunging the final weekend of the Premiership into grave doubt.

A Premiership Rugby statement reads:

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“Sale Sharks announced last night that they had suffered “a number of positive COVID-19 tests” this week, and we are aware there are also positive tests at other clubs.

Darren Childs, Chief Executive of Premiership Rugy said: “The health and well-being of our players and staff is our priority.

“More than 900 PCR COVID-19 screening tests were carried out on Thursday. On Friday we received the results, which was followed by a comprehensive Contact Tracing programme at our clubs, created by those positive tests.

“These results are being analysed with the help of Public Health England and the local health authorities involved. This will allow a decision to be made over the Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors match, and any others that have been affected by positive results.

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“We understand the stakes are very high this weekend but we have a responsibility to everyone involved with Premiership Rugby to ensure a methodical process is followed, and this cannot be rushed.”

Sale have insisted their crucial clash with Worcester will go ahead despite the spread of Covid-19 throughout the Manchester club, with a small number of backroom staff also returning positive tests, the PA news agency understands.

But after Sale had issued a statement saying Sunday’s game would go ahead, Worcester responded by claiming the fixture is still being discussed by public health officials and Premiership Rugby.

Worcester’s statement read: “Warriors’ final Gallagher Premiership match of the season against Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell on Sunday is still the subject of discussions between Premiership Rugby and public health officials.

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“A significant number of Sale players and staff tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday and have been retested as part of a rigorous process that applies to all clubs and which has been in place since before the 2019-20 season resumed in August.

“The sole criterion for deciding whether a match can take place in the current unprecedented and worrying circumstances is the safety of officials and players and staff of both clubs and (minimising) the risk of anyone contracting and spreading this killer disease.

“Warriors would always prefer the outcome of a match to be decided on the pitch and will do so provided we are satisfied that all the Covid-19 protocols and procedures have been followed and no health risk is posed to our players and staff.

– additional reporting PA

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