The Rugby Football Union (RFU) will launch a probe into how Premiership club Sale Sharks returned 16 positive COVID-19 tests among their playing group on Saturday, British media reported.

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The outbreak prompted the Premiership to postpone Sale’s final league match against Worcester Warriors to Wednesday while Gloucester Rugby’s game with Northampton Saints was cancelled due to Saints players self-isolating after playing Sale.

“The Professional Game Board agreed a minimum standards framework for the season restart, including the ability for sanctions in the event of any breaches of the framework,” the RFU said in a statement released to British media.

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James Hook talks to All Access

Bristol Bears Director of Rugby Pat Lam said he was surprised at the number of positive cases at Sale.

“The biggest shock is the number of cases. We can understand one or two, but 19 – something’s gone wrong there,” he was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

“The only way 19 happens is because of the behaviour within the group. Something massive has to have happened there. That doesn’t just suddenly change.”

Sale, who beat Harlequins 27-19 in their Premiership Rugby Cup final on Sept. 21, had not intentionally broken any rules, director of rugby Steve Diamond said. “… There’s no breach of protocol done deliberately,” he was quoted as saying by the Guardian. (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford )

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