The news of seven positive Covid-19 tests at Wasps is a major blow that could see their Premiership final dreams taken away, but this is very different from the Sale situation. Every case or group of cases is different and should be judged on its own merits but the one unifying element is that the first thought should be for the health and well-being of the players and staff involved.
We all want to see a thrilling Premiership final between Wasps and Exeter at Twickenham next Saturday week but the welfare of everyone involved, including players’ families, comes a long way before that and the club have been crystal clear about that as well.
The timing has certainly helped with a weekend off ahead so while preparations are being affected, there is still time to get things back in order and on track. However, there has been no word coming out of Wasps about being ready to play or being able to field a squad.
They may actually have the same amount of time to prepare as Exeter with them in Champions Cup final action on Saturday but, either way, the club is doing everything it can to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone concerned ahead of the league final and it is prepared for every possible scenario.
Sale obviously strongly refuted any suggestion that there was any breach of protocols or guidelines involved in them returning positive tests well into double figures and there has been no suggestion that there has been any such breach at Wasps.
Very worrying https://t.co/WtJBbUgNXL
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 14, 2020
Training has been cancelled for the rest of the week, everyone is isolating from one another and if there are further positive tests and the worst-case scenario arises, they are fully prepared to forfeit the game next week.
The next round of testing wasn’t due until Tuesday but extra tests are being conducted later this week and the best-case scenario is that the four players and three members of staff concerned remain the only ones to return positive tests, they recover well and Wasps can begin preparing for the Premiership final without just them.
There is another potential outcome whereby there are further positive tests but, because people have been isolated already, the club can prepare a squad to face the Chiefs without those players as well.
Obviously, the strictest contact tracing has taken place in order to determine who has had contact with who and there have been reports that the positive tests on the playing side involve academy members.
In the worst-case scenario of Wasps forfeiting the game, the regulations would seem to indicate that the title would go to Exeter but discussions are ongoing about the possibility of the next cab off the rank being propelled into the final and that would be Bristol.
Let’s hope for everyone concerned that neither of those two scenarios comes into play because I really don’t think Pat Lam and his players would want to be appearing in a final that they haven’t qualified for on merit and Exeter definitely want to win the title properly.
There was plenty of talk of a couple of Saracens’ titles being stripped from them and handed to the Chiefs and there are enough players and staff on record as saying that wouldn’t have been satisfactory for them.
It’s the memories you make on the day of those finals – and the days that follow – that stay with you forever and Exeter will be desperate for the showpiece occasion to go ahead.
Clearly, Wasps are desperate to be there too but not at any cost. Sadly, it does seem inevitable that this won’t be the last time we are talking about cases of Covid-19 as we look ahead to the winter and next season maybe the rules will be reviewed.
For now, though, it should be all about making sure the players and staff members involved are recovering well and there is no further spread. The club is doing everything in its power to ensure that is the case.
Of course, it would be devastating if a shot at the Premiership title was to be taken away but health comes first and that is the only approach to take.
Brilliant news to start your Thursday morning with ?https://t.co/F2yIc59L9y
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 15, 2020
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