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Sale forfeit final Premiership game after eight more positive COVID-19 cases

Sale Sharks have had to forfeit their last match of the regular season in the Premiership becaus...

Sale Sharks have had to forfeit their last match of the regular season in the Premiership because of eight more positive cases of COVID-19.

Sale were due to face Worcester in a rescheduled game on Wednesday night and needed a win to secure a spot in the playoffs.

The forfeiting of the game means Worcester are awarded a 20-0 win and Bath finish in fourth place, securing the final playoff spot.

The Sale and Worcester game was originally due to take place on Sunday but was postponed after Sale reported 19 coronavirus cases.

More tests were carried out on Tuesday and showed an additional six players and two staff tested positive, bringing the number of infections at the club to 27 in the past seven days.

Bath will now travel to leaders Exeter in the play-off semi-finals on Saturday, while Bristol go to Wasps.

A statement from Sale read: " Sale Sharks has worked closely with Premiership Rugby, Public Health England and Public Health North West, the RFU and Worcester Warriors and would like to thank all parties for their contribution during this challenging period.

"This is devastating for Sale Sharks, the players and staff with Covid-19 denying the club the chance to challenge for the Premiership title at the final hurdle.

"Sale Sharks and all involved with the club are determined to come back stronger than ever in time for next season.

"The owners are very proud of, and grateful to, the players and staff for the effort that has been demonstrated throughout the protracted season and particularly over this past week.

"Sale Sharks would like to thank all its supporters for wishing the club’s players and staff a speedy recovery during these difficult circumstances.

"They would like to reassure those well-wishers that no-one who has been infected has any serious health concerns at present.

"The club will continue to ensure that everybody is closely monitored and supported over the coming weeks.

The statement goes on to say that the high number of cases had nothing to do with players acting irresponsibly.

"Reports over the weekend suggesting our players acted irresponsibly by partying and socialising throughout Manchester after our Premiership Rugby Cup victory are completely inaccurate and untrue.

"Health and Safety has always been our top priority throughout the return of professional rugby in England and we have an important role to play in supporting the Premiership Rugby players that have tested positive for this terrible virus.

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Covid-19 Gallagher Premiership Rugby Sale Worcester