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Saturday's PRO14 fixture in Dublin gets go-ahead despite 8 Ulster academy players testing positive for Covid

By Online Editors
(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 clash at the Aviva Stadium between Leinster and Ulster has been given the green light by the IRFU following the results of the latest round of coronavirus testing in both squads.

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Ulster had issued a worrying statement on Wednesday evening admitting that a number of Covid-19 cases had been identified within its academy squad and that one senior squad member who had been identified as a potential contact had gone into self isolation.  

That caused overnight concern that Saturday’s derby in Dublin could be affected by the outbreak, but the latest test results from the IRFU have allayed any fears and the fixture will go ahead as originally planned.

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RugbyPass brings you Game Day, the behind the scenes documentary on the 2018 Guinness PRO14 final between Leinster and Scarlets
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RugbyPass brings you Game Day, the behind the scenes documentary on the 2018 Guinness PRO14 final between Leinster and Scarlets

A statement read: “The IRFU can confirm that the PCR testing of players and staff at Leinster and Ulster has produced zero positive results. 155 players and staff have been tested across the two provinces this week. Results from Munster are expected this evening and Connacht’s are expected on Friday.

“The staff and players from the two provinces have been cleared to compete in this weekend’s Guinness PRO14 games at the Aviva Stadium. Players and staff are currently tested each match week.

“Training for the Ulster senior squad at the Kingspan Stadium recommenced today on confirmation of all players and support staff testing negative after it was stopped as a precautionary measure on confirmation of eight positive Covid-19 cases in the Ulster academy.

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“All individuals identified as potential close contacts of this group of academy players immediately began self-isolating and have since been tested. This includes one member of the senior squad who has received a negative test result but will continue to self-isolate in line with public health advice.

“All academy training continues to be suspended and Ulster Rugby continues to work closely alongside the Public Health Agency. To date there have been 1,070 tests conducted across the professional player and staff group and nine positive tests reported from the academy system.”

IRFU medical director Rod McLoughlin added: “We have now had two occurrences of Covid and while the primary focus and concern will always be player health it is good to see that the systems and protocols that have been put in place are working. We will now use these experiences to refine our systems and protocols as we continue to operate in this new environment.”

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