Sale’s match against Worcester at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday will not go ahead after 16 Sharks players tested positive on Thursday for Covid-19. Premiership Rugby officials are meeting to decide whether the game can be played early next week.
They are also looking at whether the other five matches can go ahead as scheduled on the final round of the Premiership’s regular season, one week before the play-offs are due to take place.
Only four teams announced their sides at the scheduled time of 12pm on Saturday. They included Leicester and Harlequins, who meet at Welford Road, and London Irish, who face play-off chasing Bristol at the Stoop. The Bears said they had recorded no positive tests last week.
Worcester later named their team and issued a statement saying the club were awaiting confirmation that Covid protocols and procedures would be met and that there would be no health risk to their players.
The match between Gloucester and Northampton at Kingsholm is also in doubt because the Saints played Sale on Tuesday night.
Under rules laid down by Premiership Rugby following the resumption of the season in August, if a match is called off because a club’s players or management staff have not followed protocols, the opposition will be handed a bonus-point victory. If it is down to local restrictions, a 0-0 draw is recorded.
Premiership Rugby is keen for the round to be completed, with Wasps, Bath, Sale and Bristol vying to join Exeter in the play-offs, but it stated categorically before the relaunch that there would be no postponements because of time constraints.