Four more people at Wasps, three players and one staff member, have tested positive for Covid-19, taking the total at the club in the past five days to 11. A decision on whether the club will take part in the Premiership final against Exeter on Saturday will be made after another round of tests on Tuesday.
Bristol, who won the European Challenge Cup on Friday, would take the place of Wasps. They will resume training on Tuesday before a decision on Wednesday on who will provide the opposition to Exeter, who are in pursuit of the double after winning the European Champions Cup on Saturday.
“Following an additional round of Covid-19 testing on Saturday, Wasps can confirm four more members of the playing department have tested positive,” the club said in a statement which followed the announcement on Friday that four players and three members of staff had recorded positive tests and that training had been suspended.
“Those concerned are now self-isolating, as are their close contacts. After consultation with the medical leads at Premiership Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and Public Health England, the club will continue not to train at this stage. A decision on whether the club will play in Saturday’s final will be made following the results of a further set of testing to be undertaken on Tuesday.”
Bristol’s players had Monday off but the club’s director of rugby, Pat Lam, has organised a training schedule from Tuesday because of the possibility the Bears could replace Wasps and appear in a Premiership final for the first time. They are the only side to have defeated Exeter this season when the Chiefs have picked their strongest available side.
Bristol would step up because they finished third in the table following the decision to cancel Sale’s final game at home against Worcester after the Sharks recorded 27 positive tests in less than a week. Premiership Rugby has yet to say what it would take for Wasps to be pulled from the final.
It may come down to tracing rather than the actual number of positive tests, but that may require time just four days from the final. “The club’s Covid-19 contact tracing, measures and protocols, which remain vigorous, will continue to be adhered to,” Wasps said in their statement.
Only one of the four players who tested positive last week has been involved with the first-team squad this season, and then marginally. The other three were academy players. Wasps have been asked whether any of this week’s four were in contention for Twickenham.