Edinburgh opponents Ulster hit by Covid-19 outbreak

Nine days before Pro14 semi-final at BT Murrayfield, Irish province confirm coronavirus cases in youth squad with one senior player self-isolating

Duhan van der Merwe in action for Edinburgh against Ulster, who are due at BT Murrayfield next Saturday. Picture: SRU/SNS
Duhan van der Merwe in action for Edinburgh against Ulster, who are due at BT Murrayfield next Saturday. Picture: SRU/SNS

Edinburgh’s opponents in the Guinness Pro14 semi-final, due to be held at BT Murrayfield a week on Saturday, have been hit with a coronavirus outbreak after a number of their youth squad tested positive with a senior player self-isolating.

A statement from Ulster, whose chief executive is former Scotland forward and Edinburgh managing director Jonny Petrie, said: “Ulster Rugby is assisting a group of Academy players after a number of COVID-19 cases were identified within the Academy squad.

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"As soon as the cases were identified, Ulster Rugby immediately stood down all training of both the Academy and Senior squads and sought to identify any potential close contacts. All individuals potentially exposed to the virus have already commenced self-isolating.

“The Public Health Authority (PHA) has been contacted, and the contact tracing process has started, in line with public health advice.”

Ulster Rugby Medical Director, Michael Webb, said: “Following confirmation of multiple Academy players testing positive for COVID-19, we are closely following public health advice in line with the IRFU’s Return to Play protocols. As a result, we have taken a number of precautionary measures as we await the results of further testing. We are supporting the individuals involved and all will continue to be medically monitored.

“Our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of our players and staff, and we will continue to work closely with both the IRFU and PHA as we look to make a safe and measured return to rugby.”

The club statement added: “One senior squad member has been identified as a potential contact and is already self-isolating. Routine PCR testing, part of the IRFU’s Return to Play protocols, took place with the Senior squad today, with results due to be released tomorrow in line with existing processes in place from previous testing rounds.

“Given this is a confidential health matter for the individuals involved, Ulster Rugby will not be making any further comment at this stage.”

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