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Munster v Leinster Christmas clash postponed for second year in a row due to further Covid cases

It's understood a number of squad members have also been identified as close contacts, placing an additional strain on resources.
The Munster vs Leinster fixtures is set to be shelved due to Covid cases in the Leinster camp. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

The Munster vs Leinster fixtures is set to be shelved due to Covid cases in the Leinster camp. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Ruaidhri O'Connor

For the second successive year, Munster will not host Leinster in their traditional festive fixture due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the United Rugby Championship champions' camp.

Leinster, who have been dealing with cases in their squad for three weeks running and saw their Heineken Champions Cup clash against Montpellier called off last week, have reported additional cases in their camp despite everyone staying away from the set-up since last Thursday.

It's understood a number of squad members have also been identified as close contacts, placing an additional strain on resources.

In total, between positive cases, close contacts and injury, more than 30 players are unavailable to head coach Leo Cullen, and so it has been decided by the competition's Medical Advisory Group that the game will not go ahead.

The province will shut down its UCD training operation this week in the hope that they can get clear of the virus, re-assembling next Tuesday before their New Year's Day fixture with Ulster.

Last season, when the game was called off, the same two teams met in January when the Champions Cup games were abandoned and the match acted as something of a pre-Six Nations Ireland trial.

It remains to be seen when organisers, who have already re-arranged fixtures involving South African teams, will fit the game in.

Currently, organisers hope the Ulster game can go ahead but Leinster's subsequent match against the Lions on January 7 has been called off.

In a statement, the URC organisers said:

"The game was due to take place on Sunday, December 26 in Limerick, however, a number of positive Covid-19 cases within the Leinster squad have been reported by the province. The URC Medical Advisory Group has liaised with the IRFU and Leinster, who are working with the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) and deemed that the fixture cannot go ahead as scheduled."


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