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European ties to go ahead as EPCR quell boycott talk

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Four Round Two matches were cancelled before Christmas and with rising coronavirus numbers and the new variant of the virus prevalent in parts of the United Kingdom, there are reports in France that clubs will pull out (stock photo)

Four Round Two matches were cancelled before Christmas and with rising coronavirus numbers and the new variant of the virus prevalent in parts of the United Kingdom, there are reports in France that clubs will pull out (stock photo)

Four Round Two matches were cancelled before Christmas and with rising coronavirus numbers and the new variant of the virus prevalent in parts of the United Kingdom, there are reports in France that clubs will pull out (stock photo)

European rugby chiefs have moved to quell purported threats of a French boycott as they prepare to announce revised Covid-19 protocols following a meeting of its Medical Advisory Group.

Despite Bayonne announcing they were quitting the Challenge Cup with two rounds to go, and with rumours that Toulon and others were also prepared to issue a blanket boycott circulating, the EPCR says the show will go on with Rounds Three and Four of the pool stages taking place this month.

"It can be confirmed that no club participating in the Heineken Champions Cup or Challenge Cup has officially informed EPCR of any intention not to fulfil their remaining fixtures in the 2020/'21 season," organisers said in a statement following a video conference.

"Key topics discussed included testing schedules, contact tracing and case management, match-day risk assessment, cross-border travel and protocol compliance.

Productive

"The Medical Advisory Group also received independent input from leading Swiss-based physician and virologist, Dr Daniel Koch, during what was a productive meeting.

"Outcomes of the meeting will be communicated as soon as is practicable, and EPCR will be making no further comment until that time," they added.

Four Round Two matches were cancelled before Christmas and with rising coronavirus numbers and the new variant of the virus prevalent in parts of the United Kingdom, there are reports in France that clubs will pull out.

Toulon are heavily rumoured to be considering their participation, while Challenge Cup team Bayonne had earlier gone public with their intention not to fulfil their Round Three and Four fixtures, although it appears that a decision had not yet been communicated to organisers.

The suggestion might now be that revised protocols may reassure French sides.

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