closed for xmas | 

Leinster shut down their UCD headquarters in bid to alleviate rapid spread of virus

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen at a Leinster squad training session at UCD. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen at a Leinster squad training session at UCD. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Leinster have shut down their UCD headquarters for a second time in a bid to alleviate the rapid spread of Covid-19 through their ranks over Christmas.

Yesterday, United Rugby Championship (URC) organisers were forced to postponed the marquee St Stephen’s Day derby between Munster and Leinster at Thomond Park because more than 30 members of Leo Cullen’s squad had either tested positive for the virus or were self-isolating after being identified as a close contact.

On Friday, Leinster were forced to effectively forfeit their Heineken Champions Cup clash with Montpellier due to the outbreak in their squad.

They tried a ‘circuit-breaker’ over the weekend, but with case numbers high in the community they now have a number of players out as close contacts.

Having already rejigged parts of their season due to the travel restrictions between South Africa and Europe, URC organisers will now have to find room in the season for another fixture.

Already this week, Ospreys v Dragons also fell by the wayside due to an outbreak in the Ospreys camp.

Last season, the Thomond Park game also fell victim to Covid-19 and was re-fixed for January after the third and fourth rounds of the Champions Cup were abandoned.

Munster, who have already voided the tickets for the sold-out clash and were in the process of conducting a lottery to allow 5,000 fans attend after new restrictions on crowds were introduced, will be hoping the new date will be after January 31 when it is hoped a bigger attendance could be accommodated.

Ironically, yesterday was the first day that the entire Munster squad could train at the University of Limerick after their ill-fated trip to South Africa.

Ulster v Connacht is still scheduled to take place on St Stephen’s Day.

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