March 16, 2020 / 6:41 AM / in 22 days

Rugby - Toronto Wolfpack's UK-based playing staff stood down over coronavirus fears

FILE PHOTO: Rugby League - Super League - Salford Red Devils v Toronto Wolfpack - AJ Bell Stadium, Salford, Britain - February 8, 2020 Toronto Wolfpack head coach Brian McDermott Action Images/Ed Sykes

(Reuters) - Toronto Wolfpack, who hit the headlines by signing New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams last year, stood down their entire playing staff in the UK after four players showed “mild possible symptoms” of COVID-19.

The Super League, in which the Canadian club competes, had elected to carry on with matches over the weekend even though most elite sports events in Britain were suspended due to the virus outbreak.

However, a positive test at the club could force future matches to be temporarily suspended.

"We have advised four of our players who have experienced mild possible symptoms of COVID-19 to self-isolate in accordance with the guidelines set by the UK government," head coach Brian McDermott said in a club statement here .

“We take this very seriously and as a precaution, we have stood down our entire playing staff in the UK.

“Our main goal is to prevent further spread to our playing squad and their immediate family members, therefore we are now postponing all practice and have tasked our squad with keeping themselves healthy.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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