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Irish rugby's restart hopes receive major boost following latest round of Covid-19 testing

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Connacht and Ulster will play against each other on August 23

Connacht and Ulster will play against each other on August 23

Connacht and Ulster will play against each other on August 23

Irish rugby's hopes of restarting on the weekend of August 22 have received another major boost as the IRFU have confirmed that the second round of testing in Connacht and Ulster has produced 0 positive results.

149 players and staff were tested in both provinces last week, which brings the total number across all four provinces to 407. To date, no positive tests have been recorded.

The latest round of negative results means that Connacht and Ulster have now been cleared to enter the next phase of their return to rugby, which includes a graduated return to contact training.

Munster and Leinster will hope to follow suit as soon as they return to training next Monday following a short break.

Connacht and Ulster are expected to meet in a PRO14 derby on August 23 behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium.

"The first tranche of the second round of PCR testing has been successfully completed," IRFU Medical Director Rod McLoughlin said.

"The players and staff will continue to undergo daily medical screening and assessment. Leinster and Munster will undergo their second testing round when they return from their mid pre-season breaks."

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