The EPCR have confirmed that the postponed round-2 matches in the Heineken Champions Cup will not be rearranged.
Five games involving French teams playing counterparts from the UK were called off due to travel restrictions in place at the time.
Those matches were:
Bath Rugby v Stade Rochelais
Sale Sharks v ASM Clermont Auvergne
Scarlets v Union Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Toulousain v Wasps
Stade Francais Paris v Bristol Bears
Rather than tether the games to new dates, the EPCR will instead award 0-0 scorelines to all five, and the Challenge Cup games involving London Irish and Brive, and Worcester and Biarritz.
Leinster's trip to Montpellier remains a 28-0 bonus point win in favour of the Top 14 outfit as an independent Match Risk Assessment Committee felt at the time that Leinster could not fulfil the fixture safely due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Rounds 3 and 4 are due to be played as normal over the coming weekends, but doubts persist over certain English teams' willingness to isolate prior to games in France.
Following a series of meetings of the Board of EPCR, it has been regrettably decided to cancel the postponed fixtures in Round 2 of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup.
The Board also authorised the EPCR Executive to determine the outcome of the fixtures as provided for in the rules of the tournaments and the EPCR Executive has decided that the appropriate solution is to record the results in each of the five Heineken Champions Cup and the two EPCR Challenge Cup fixtures in question as 0-0 draws with two match points awarded to each club (see below).
The Board and the Executive have been guided by input from the deliberations of the EPCR Sporting and Tournaments Committee which like the EPCR Board is made up of representatives of the URC, PRL and TOP 14 leagues.
The Round 2 matches were initially postponed following the unforeseen introduction of new travel measures between the UK and France which resulted in EPCR being unable to obtain assurances that existing cross-border travel exemptions for players, club staff and match officials would remain in place.
The options of modifying the tournament formats and/or rescheduling the matches were deliberated in great detail by all parties, however, in an increasingly complex fixture calendar due to Covid-19, it was regrettably decided that the only choice in the circumstances was to cancel the matches.
The Board then considered how the seven matches should be accounted for in the standings of the tournaments and it was satisfied that the correct approach was for the EPCR Executive to apply the Match Result Resolution Matrix as set out in the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup Participation Agreement.
On the basis that none of the clubs involved were in a position to play once the EPCR Board had postponed the seven matches due to the new restrictive travel measures, the only option open to the EPCR Executive under the provisions of the Match Result Resolution Matrix was to record the results as 0-0 draws and to award two match points to each club.
A distinction should be drawn between the decisions in respect of the seven Round 2 matches in question and other tournament fixtures which were previously cancelled due to Covid-19 outbreaks or forced isolations affecting player availability.
Those previously cancelled fixtures could not have been played as scheduled under any circumstances, whereas the clubs involved in the Round 2 matches in question were all cleared and available to contest the matches.
Therefore, the determined outcomes of the three previously cancelled or forfeited Heineken Champions Cup fixtures, and the one EPCR Challenge Cup fixture, will stand.
EPCR would also like to thank all its participating clubs for their patience and understanding in what are extremely difficult times and wishes everyone well for the matches in Rounds 3 and 4.
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