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Irish rugby cleared to return after 308 Covid-19 tests across four provinces come back negative

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Munster are due to take on Leinster in the Pro14 at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday as rugby returns from a long lay-off due to the Covid-19 pandemic (stock photo)

Munster are due to take on Leinster in the Pro14 at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday as rugby returns from a long lay-off due to the Covid-19 pandemic (stock photo)

Munster are due to take on Leinster in the Pro14 at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday as rugby returns from a long lay-off due to the Covid-19 pandemic (stock photo)

The four provinces have been cleared to return to rugby this weekend after the third round of testing for Covid-19 produced no positive results.

Munster received a scare last week when a member of their Academy, who had been training with the senior team, returned a positive test and six other members of the squad were forced to self-isolate.

However, subsequent testing of 308 players, staff and match officials has produced the result the IRFU wanted, meaning that after almost six months absence the sport can return at the Aviva Stadium this weekend with Leinster taking on Munster on Saturday and Connacht facing Ulster on Sunday.

To date, the union have carried out 915 tests on staff across the four provinces with just one positive.

Players and staff will continue to be tested in each match week as the rugby authorities look to keep the show on the road.

"I would like to acknowledge the incredible work of the medical teams, support staff, coaches and players in the provinces who have fully committed to the COVID protocols at their High Performance Centres and have enabled the return of professional rugby this weekend," IRFU medical director Rod McLaughlin said in a union statement."

Supporters can be assured that we will all continue to work hard to ensure that professional rugby continues to adhere to strict COVID protocols."

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