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Racing handed walkover after Ospreys pull out of trip to France

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by PA)

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Ospreys have become the third UK and Ireland club to concede a 28-0 walkover in this weekend’s round two European fixtures after they informed EPCR they were no longer in a position to fulfil their Saturday Champions Cup game at Racing 92. It was Wednesday when Saracens were forced to forfeit their Challenge Cup match at Pau due to a virus outbreak that closed down their training ground.

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This was followed by Thursday’s announcement that Leinster’s Champions Cup match at Montpellier on Friday night would not go ahead. It was a decision that aggrieved the Irish province as they insisted they were still in a position to play even though their camp had been affected by a virus outbreak. 

Their frustrations fell on deaf ears as Montpellier were awarded a 28-0, five-match points win and that same result has now been given to Racing on Friday after Ospreys admitted they were no longer able to make the trip over to Paris. 

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A statement from the tournament organisers read: “EPCR has been informed by Ospreys that they have a recorded a number of positive tests for Covid-19 among their playing squad and, as a consequence, the club is not in a position to safely fulfil its Heineken Champions Cup round two fixture against Racing 92, scheduled for Saturday.

“The Pool A fixture at Paris La Defense Arena is therefore cancelled with Racing 92 awarded the match on a 28-0, five-match points basis in accordance with the tournament rules. 

“EPCR would like to emphasise that awarding the match to Racing 92 is a tournament management measure with the objective of ensuring that all fixtures in the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup are accounted for, and not a sanction.” This outcome, though, effectively ends any hope that Toby Booth’s side will reach the knockout phase as they were defeated 21-13 at home by Sale last Sunday.

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There have been concerns that other matches involving the French teams this weekend might also not go ahead but La Rochelle (away to Bath), Clermont (away to Sale), Castres (away to Munster), Bordeaux (away to Scarlets), Toulouse (at home to Wasps) and Stade Francais (at home to Bristol) all announced their matchday 23s as scheduled this Friday lunchtime.    

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