Covid-19 outbreak forces Bath to call off Premiership fixture vs London Irish

The Premiership clash between London Irish and Bath has been cancelled after a spike in positive Covid-19 tests left the latter "unable to safely fulfil the fixture."

Injuries and coronavirus cases had already forced Bath to forfeit their Premiership Rugby Cup fixture against Exeter Chiefs on Wednesday, but the Somerset club has since returned more positive cases.

The two teams were scheduled to meet at Brentford Community Stadium on Monday evening, but a Premiership Rugby panel are now deliberating over how to allocate points for the fixture.

A Premiership Rugby spokesperson said: "Our priority is the health and safety of everyone involved with Bath Rugby and London Irish so the decision has been made to cancel the match. We will give the clubs any support they need, and wish everyone affected a full and speedy recovery.

"Neither Premiership Rugby nor the club will be naming any of the players or staff involved and we'd ask everyone to respect their privacy."

Another cancellation compounds a nightmarish week for Bath after it was reported England international and two-time British and Irish Lions tourist Anthony Watson has decided to leave the club this summer.

The Blue, Black and Whites came into Round 12 of the campaign having failed to win any of their first 10 games, with director of rugby Stuart Hooper's side already 11 points adrift at the bottom of the table.

It's been confirmed Munster head coach Johann van Graan will replace Neal Hatley in the role at The Rec next season, though it remains uncertain as to whether Hooper's role will be affected.

London Irish, on the other hand, had gone unbeaten in three of their last four Premiership games as they prepared to host Bath, a run that included a thrilling 34-34 draw away to English giants Saracens.

Director of rugby Declan Kidney had his team sat eighth when the fixture was called off on Saturday, having notched two of their three wins so far this season in their past three outings.

Premiership Rugby's rugby director, Phil Winstanley, confirmed the league's revamped stance on Covid-affected matches in November 2020: “Premiership Rugby and our clubs have carried out a thorough review of the 2019-20 season, and the way we will respond when any of our matches are threatened by the COVID pandemic in the future.

“Every sport is having to respond to unprecedented circumstances and we have received unanimous support for the new regulations which build on our experience and knowledge from last season, and ensure we are ready for the new campaign.

“Our task for the new season was to prepare for situations where we have an outbreak, and make decisions that are fair and equitable from a competition perspective.”

Under those agreed clauses, the team responsible for a match being cancelled—in this case, Bath—are to be awarded two points, while the team that wasn't responsible is due four points.

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