Gloucester’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions Cup next season have been crushed after the club’s second game in a week was cancelled following a player testing positive for Covid-19.
A number of players tested positive last week, with the cases in double figures, forcing several other players to isolate and leading to the cancellation of Gloucester’s game against Bath.
Now a further positive result from this week’s round of Covid-19 testing has led to several new players going into isolation, leaving Gloucester unable to field a matchday squad of 23 players to face Worcester Warriors.
Gloucester are now likely to receive two match points for the cancelled fixture, which will not be enough for the club to try and force their way into the Gallagher Premiership’s top eight places to qualify for next season’s Champions Cup.
Gloucester could have secured eighth place with a bonus-point win over Worcester and defeats elsewhere for London Irish away at league leaders Bristol and for Bath at home to Northampton.
The club are currently in 11th place on 43 points, and before the Covid-19 outbreak over the past two weeks were finishing a difficult season on a high, with three wins in their last four Premiership matches.
Worcester, who trailed Gloucester at the bottom of the table by 20 points going into the final day on Saturday, will finish the season having won four of their 22 matches, all three of those “wins” have been awarded to the club due to matches being cancelled due to Covid-19. Worcester have not won on the field since the first day of the season against London Irish.
Worcester have announced that the club will host an end-of-season party instead of the fixture in order for supporters to say farewell to the players leaving the club, with Francois Hougaard, Duncan Weir and Nick David among those departing Sixways.
A Premiership Rugby spokesperson said: “We are in consultation with Public Health England over this outbreak and while no one wants to call off any match, especially the last game of the season our priority is the health and safety of everyone involved with Gloucester Rugby and Worcester Warriors.
“We will stay in constant contact with both clubs, offer any support necessary and we wish everyone affected at Gloucester Rugby a full and speedy recovery.
“Neither Premiership Rugby nor the club will be naming any of the players or staff involved and we’d ask everyone to respect their privacy.”