Northampton's clash with Leicester cancelled over COVID-19 cases at Saints

(Reuters) - Northampton Saints' Premiership Rugby meeting with Leicester Tigers on Saturday has been called off after the Saints returned positive COVID-19 tests, the league said on Wednesday.

The Premiership said that Saints' training ground has been closed following the results after the latest round of testing. The next round of testing is scheduled for Monday.

"The health and safety of players, management, staff and match officials is our priority. We wish those who have tested positive at Saints a speedy and safe recovery," a Premiership Rugby representative said in a statement.

A Premiership Rugby panel will be convened to determine the allocation of points and the league said a further announcement will be made in due course.

"The East Midlands Derby is a day that Saints supporters will have circled in their calendar months in advance. It's a game entrenched in history and one our players particularly relish being a part of," Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd said.

"It's also a big blow to have back-to-back matches cancelled, as we had hoped to pick up some momentum again following an important win on Boxing Day."

This marks the second time Leicester have had a game called off in recent weeks due to COVID-19 cases after Newcastle Falcons returned positive tests.

Saints also had a game over the weekend cancelled when London Irish returned several positive test results.

With no room on the calendar to reschedule the matches, the Premiership has been recording 0-0 results in those games, awarding four points to the club who were able to fulfil the fixture and two points to the other.

List of cancelled Premiership fixtures

* Newcastle Falcons (4 points) v Leicester Tigers (2 points)

* Bath Rugby (4 points) v London Irish (2 points)

* Worcester Warriors (4 points) v Harlequins (2 points)

* Northampton Saints (4 points) v London Irish (2 points)

* Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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