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Rule change greenlights UK teams to travel to France

By PA
(Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

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European tournament games involving British clubs in France this weekend look set to go ahead as planned.

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A lifting of travel restrictions has been announced by France’s tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, to take effect from Friday morning.

Travellers from the UK who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter France if they have evidence of a negative coronavirus test taken within 24 hours of departure, while a requirement to isolate on arrival will be scrapped.

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It gives the green light for Bath, Sale, Scarlets and Newcastle to travel, although official confirmation is awaited from tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby.

Bath face Heineken Champions Cup opponents La Rochelle on Saturday, with Sale visiting Clermont Auvergne and Scarlets tackling Bordeaux-Begles the following day.

Newcastle, meanwhile, are in European Challenge Cup action against Biarritz on Friday night.

The sticking point for sides visiting France in round three of European competition was a requirement that they quarantine on arrival for 48 hours.

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If any personnel tested positive for coronavirus, they would then have been required to remain in self-isolation for 10 days before returning home.

EPCR had been seeking a softening of the rules and were optimistic of securing a positive outcome.

Speaking on Wednesday, Sale rugby director Alex Sanderson said: “All positive – we’re going. That is what I have been informed.

“I haven’t spoken to EPCR directly, but on the back of all the communication we’ve had this far, we are very positive. We have chartered a plane and sorted the hotel.”

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