UPDATE: 20.23pm GMT: Stade Francais have been forced to cancel their next friendly with Brive due a significant proportion of their club testing positive for COVID-19.

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It was being reported in France that 17 of their 37 man squad (46 per cent) had tested positive for the virus. The squad had recently returned from a training camp in Nice ahead of the resumption of the Top 14 season. However, general manager Thomas Lombard has denied that the number being reported have contracted the virus.

“There are not 17 positive players for Covid-19 at the Stade Français” Lombard told Rugbyrama, who had reported the figure earlier today.

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Stade Francais confirmed the initial news in a short statement on Thursday, without revealing a figure for the positive tests.

“The mandatory weekly Covid-19 test carried out by professional players at Stade Français Paris has been positive for some of them,” the statement reads.

“The latter, asymptomatic, were immediately isolated and placed in quarantine in accordance with government directives and the instructions of the ARS. New tests will be carried out on Monday.

“New information will be given by the club depending on the evolution of the situation.”

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A report in L’Equipe states that the entire squad were tested upon returning from the training camp, with ‘more than a dozen players’ returning positive tests.

Stade have now officially cancelled their friendly match with Brive that was set for Friday August 14.

The club will now return to Phase 2 of the LNR return to play protocol. The outbreak at the club is by far the most significant outbreak in the Top 14, with only sporadic cases of the virus being detected in two other Top 14 clubs – Agen and Lyon.

It throws some doubt on if the club and – more broadly – the Top 14 can return to play per their own protocols, which demand all players test clear before being able to participate in contact, never mind participate in full bore matches.

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The Top 14 season is set to resume in under four weeks.

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