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O'Gara's La Rochelle using surplus vaccines to safeguard players

La Rochelle are hoping to stave off further disruption to their fixtures by seeking out COVID-19 ...

La Rochelle are hoping to stave off further disruption to their fixtures by seeking out COVID-19 vaccinations for their players.

Ronan O'Gara's side are five points off the summit of the French Top 14, with a game-in-hand. And this Sunday they entertain Leinster in the semi-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup.

RMC Sport report that La Rochelle have begun contacting various vaccination centres in the area to obtain unused excess doses.

The club are said to have contacted the regional health board - Agence Régionale de Santé Novelle-Aquitane (ARS) - about seeking an exemption for the squad to be vaccinated.

Earlier this month, French Olympic committee (CNOSF) president Denis Masseglia called for the country's Olympic athletes to be vaccinated.

"The end of April, beginning of May would be the right time. I am optimistic that the athletes will be vaccinated", he said.

France as a whole is not expected to offer vaccines to the under-50s until mid-June.

It's believed La Rochelle were told by ARS, however, that nothing prohibited them from receiving excess unused doses from the region.

The Top 14 has been beset by a number of postponements this season as a result of COVID-19 infections.

But La Rochelle's move is likely to anger the Bordeaux-Begles president, Laurent Marti.

"Be careful, there are persistent rumours of teams getting vaccinated," he said earlier this week, "This is not right."

"If this is true, we will soon find out."

La Rochelle v Leinster in the Heineken Champions Cup semi-finals is LIVE on this Sunday's Off The Ball. 

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Bordeaux-Begles Champions Cup Coronavirus Covid-19 Heineken Champions Cup La Rochelle Ronan O'Gara Roxana Maracineanu Top 14 UBB