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No added concern for Leinster ahead of Italy trip this weekend


Leinster Rugby backs coach Felipe Contepomi has no serious concerns ahead of the province's first overseas trip since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Blues follow up last weekend's season opening win against Dragons with a trip to Treviso to take on Benetton at the Stadio Monigo on Saturday night.

Speaking in the build-up to the game, the former Blues  outhalf said that everyone at Leinster is taking every precaution in preparation for their journey to Italy.

"For us, we will follow all the protocols and you know, we look after ourselves. To start with here in Ireland we are very cautious," said Contepomi.

"We need to keep encouraging everyone to follow, in this case here in Ireland, the government guidelines in terms of hand-washing, hand hygiene, wearing the mask and two metres social distances.

"Then when we travel, it's like travelling in a bubble so you have to [take] extra precautions, making sure that we are continuously cleaning our hands, we wear the masks where we have to wear them, minimise the risks.

"But it's a virus and it's everywhere and we can't be a hundred per cent guaranteed but we can't let that play on our minds."

Last weekend saw the first major impact on sport in Italy since the resumption of Serie A action, with the big tie between champions Juventus and Napoli abandoned after the Naples club chose not to travel, as per the regional health authority guidelines, following positive Covid-19 tests for two of their players.

Two Juve staff members had also tested positive during the week while there was a serious outbreak at Genoa who returned 22 positive cases, including 17 players and there have also been positive cases at Torino and AC Milan.

The Benetton clash is Leinster's first away match since February and while there is no suggestion of any issues in Treviso, Contepomi was asked if there was any added concern in making a trip to Italy in the current climate.

"There's no guarantees. We are all following similar protocols. They will definitely have to go and test their players and hopefully no one comes back positive," he replied. "They've already had games so they've been following protocols. It's not new for them either.

"So going to Italy, they are following similar protocols that we are following here and for the moment the games they've played, they've been okay.

"We just need to be aware of all the government guidelines here and when we go down there, be aware of all the guidelines we have to make sure that we keep the hygiene properly and look after ourselves the best we can."

Meanwhile Munster were forced to suspend training today after a senior player tested positive for COVID-19.

The player in question returned a positive result in the latest round of PCR testing carried out on Monday but the province says he is asymptomatic and will be restested tomorrow to remove any doubt of a potential false positive.

The individual, who was not part of the travelling group to Wales at the weekend, and six other players identified by Munster as potential close contacts, are currently self-isolating.

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