Sale Sharks’ insistence that their final round Gallagher Premiership game will go ahead despite a Covid-19 outbreak has been questioned by Worcester claiming the fixture is still the subject of discussions with Premiership Rugby. 

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Following a Friday of intense speculation surrounding the Manchester club, Sale issued a statement confirming the outbreak but adding they would be proceeding as planned with the match that will have a huge say in who qualifies for next weekend’s Premiership semi-finals. 

Sale stated: “Sale Sharks can confirm that their Gallagher Premiership round 22 match with Worcester Warriors, scheduled for 3pm on Sunday, will go ahead as planned.

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“Although Sale Sharks have been subject to a number of positive Covid-19 tests this week, after a thorough consultation, the club, its healthcare professionals and rugby management are confident the fixture can be fulfilled safely in accordance with all Covid-19 guidelines.        

“As directed by Premiership Rugby earlier today, the Sharks matchday-23 to face Worcester Warriors will be announced at 12pm on Saturday. Sale Sharks will make no further comment at this time.”

However, Worcester have now responded, claiming there is no guarantee as of yet the match at the AJ Bell will be going ahead. The Warriors statement read: “Worcester’s match against Sale is still the subject of discussions between Premiership Rugby and public health officials.

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“A significant number of Sale players and staff tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday and have been re-tested as part of a rigorous process that applies to all clubs and which has been in place since before the 2019/20 season resumed in August.

“The sole criterion for deciding whether a match can take place in the current unprecedented and worrying circumstances is the safety of officials and players and staff of both clubs and minimises the risk of anyone contracting and spreading this killer disease.

“Warriors would always prefer the outcome of a match to be decided on the pitch and will do so provided we are satisfied that all the Covid-19 protocols and procedures have been followed and no health risk is posed to our players and staff.

“At the moment we are still awaiting confirmation that those protocols and procedures can be met to allow Sunday’s match to proceed as scheduled.”

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Sale, along with Bath, Wasps, and Bristol, are battling to fill the three remaining qualification places behind the already-qualified Exeter, while Worcester have a chance of finishing high enough on the table to qualify for the Champions Cup.  

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