Sharks vs Warriors cancelled due to more COVID-19 cases

Rugby Union - Premiership - Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks - Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, Britain - September 29, 2020 Sale Sharks' Valery Morozov celebrates scoring a try with teammates Action Images/Andrew Boyers

(Reuters) - Sale Sharks’ final Premiership match against Worcester Warriors has been cancelled after additional COVID-19 cases were detected within the club, the Premiership announced on Wednesday, ending the Sharks’ hopes of reaching the playoffs.

A cluster of positive COVID-19 tests at Sale prompted the Premiership to postpone the match to Wednesday from Sunday, with the Sharks saying they would forfeit the game if they received any more positive results.

The Premiership confirmed that an additional six players and two staff from the Sharks had tested positive on Wednesday, taking the total number of positive cases to 27 in the last seven days.

The Sharks, who were fifth in the standings, three points behind Bath, needed a win to seal a playoff spot but the forfeit means Worcester have been handed a 20-0 victory.

“I have spoken to Sale Sharks this morning and neither the club or Premiership Rugby will take risks with people’s health,” Premiership Rugby Chief Executive Darren Childs said.

“Together we won’t compromise our commitment that matches will only happen if it is safe to do so, therefore the game is off. Today’s decision demonstrates that commitment.

“We know everyone at Sale Sharks will be devastated, and we share their disappointment that their season ends this way... People fight hard for points in and for a place in the semi-final but everyone agrees this has to take second place to people’s health and well-being.”

The Wasps will host the Bristol Bears at the Ricoh Arena in the first semi-final on Saturday, while table-toppers Exeter Chiefs face fourth-placed Bath at Sandy Park.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge