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Toulon president slams ‘disgusting’ decision to cancel Leinster match

Toulon

Toulon’s president Bernard Lemaitre has criticised the EPCR’s decision to cancel the Heineken Champions Cup knockout clash with Leinster.

Leinster were set to welcome Toulon to the RDS Arena on Friday at 5.30pm, but less than five hours before the game was set to kick off, the game was cancelled due to coronavirus fears.

As a member of the Toulon squad – who had not travelled to Dublin for the match – tested positive, Leinster will progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup to play either Lyon or Exeter Chiefs.

Lemaitre was speaking to French publication RugbyRama about the decision, explaining that Toulon had informed the EPCR that one of their players had tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.

“It’s disgusting, the player tested positive on Wednesday and immediately isolated. The EPCR was immediately informed, but let us go to Dublin. For more than 24 hours,” Lemaitre said.

“Despite a total negative re-test of the players last night at 8pm, these people made this decision less than five hours before the match.”

‘Rugby club Toulonnais strongly deplores this decision’

Toulon have also released a statement which tells their side of events, where they claim that the EPCR gave them the choice of either rescheduling the game for Sunday, or replacing their six front row players just hours before the match.

“On late Thursday afternoon, the EPCR asked the club to carry out a new PCR test on the entire Red & Black workforce in Ireland,” the statement read.

“These tests were therefore carried out last night in the Irish capital and all the results came out negative.

“Finally, the EPCR considered this on Friday morning (a few hours before the match), that the whole front row were considered as close contacts and that they could not take part in the match, offering the possibility of rescheduling the game to Sunday on condition of replacing the six front row players. An obvious sporting impossibility …

“This is once again proof of the errors linked to the organisation of European competitions. The EPCR let the players and staff to go to Ireland, prepare for the match, only to deprive them a few hours before kick-off from participating in this major event.

“Rugby Club Toulonnais strongly deplores this decision and sends its thoughts to all its supporters who were impatiently awaiting this meeting.”

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