Sale Sharks say they were ready to fulfil their Gallagher Premiership match commitment with Worcester Warriors, but that due to Worcester’s concerns have agreed, along with Premiership Rugby, to postpone.

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16 Sale Sharks players tested positive for coronavirus this week, throwing a spanner in the works of the Premiership’s regular-season finale this Sunday.

A Sale Sharks statement reads: “In relation to recent media speculation surrounding a COVID 19 outbreak at Sale Sharks, the club can now confirm that there have been a number of positive tests this week.

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“The wellbeing of all Premiership Rugby’s players, staff and officials remains Sale Sharks’ number one priority. Although a significant number of positive tests have been recorded, Sale Sharks have stringently followed PRL and RFU protocols throughout the pandemic in order to contain the spread of the virus. The club is therefore in a position to fulfil its Gallagher Premiership Round 22 fixture with Worcester Warriors, scheduled for this Sunday at 3pm.

“However, after Worcester Warriors expressed concerns regarding the Safety of the fixture taking place on Sunday, we sought advice from Public Health England and Sale Sharks, Worcester Warriors and Premiership Rugby have decided to postpone the match until Wednesday 7th October 2020 to allow further COVID 19 testing to take place prior to the fixture.

“Sale Sharks would like to reassure its supporters that all of the club’s players and staff are currently well.”

A Premiership statement minutes before read: “Following the announcement yesterday that there had been a number of positive tests at Sale Sharks, as part of the League’s CR COVID-19 screening programme, Premiership Rugby has made the decision under Premiership Regulation 4.1 (c) to postpone the Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors fixture until Wednesday 7 October.

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“This decision has been made after consultation with Sale Sharks, Worcester Warriors and Public Health England to ensure that the health and wellbeing of all players is protected whilst protecting the integrity of the competition.

Darren Childs, Chief Executive at Premiership Rugby said: “In light of the unprecedented situation facing Premiership Rugby we have been forced to postpone the match.

“Our priority is the health and well-being of everyone involved, and we won’t compromise this. But as this match has such a critical bearing on deciding the Gallagher Premiership Rugby champions, we wanted to do everything we could to play it.

“The team at Premiership Rugby has been working around the clock to come up with a solution and we’d like to thank Public Health England for their co-operation.”

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