Connacht into last-16 but Fren...


Connacht into last-16 but French league to fight Toulouse cancellation

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Connacht were assured of a last-16 spot in the Heineken Champions Cup, 48 hours before they played their final pool game. 

Saturday's Pool B meeting of Toulouse and Cardiff was cancelled by an independent Match Risk Assessment Committee due to "a significant number of positive Covid-19 test results" within the Toulouse squad.

The situation mirrors that which saw Leinster deemed unable to travel for their round-3 game away to Montpellier, with the French side awarded a 28-0 bonus point win.

Just as then, Cardiff have been awarded a 28-0 bonus point win by the EPCR.

A knock-on effect of the decision is that Connacht are guaranteed a top-8 finish in Pool B, regardless of their result away to Stade Français on Sunday.

Naturally, the Match Risk Assessment Committee's decision has not gone down well in France.

The Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) released a statement, describing the cancellation as "scandalous" and "unfounded".

The LNR say that Toulouse had put together a squad capable of fulfilling the fixture, in full respect of EPCR guidelines, and French health guidelines.

They claim that the committee's decision is in violation of the EPCR's own regulations.

"The Champions Cup is a very prestigious competition," said LNR president, René Bouscatel, "organisers cannot allow arbitrary decisions to be made that are contrary to its own rules.

"This decision is irresponsible.

"I have decided to urgently convene an LNR Steering Committee to discuss the follow-up action, including legal action, to be given to this decision."

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Andy Friend Cardiff Champions Cup Connacht Epcr Heineken Champions Cup LNR Toulouse

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