Saracens’ upcoming European Challenge Cup game against French side Pau has been called off due to a series of positive cases in the London club’s camp.
Saracens, recently promoted back to the Premiership, were huge favourites for this competition before it began last weekend.
In a statement, Saracens said: “Saracens can confirm that the club has experienced an outbreak of Covid-19 within the training ground environment leading to several positive Covid-19 cases.
“The club has taken the immediate action of closing the training ground and isolating all players, coaches and support staff.
“We have been working closely with EPCR and PRL and it is with regret that our game versus Pau in the EPCR Challenge Cup on Saturday 18 December has had to be forfeited by Saracens due to our inability to field a 23-man squad for this fixture.”
They lost their opening match at the hands of Edinburgh and, combined with this result, will now have just one point out of a possible 10 in the table.
European organisations have stated that any club who can’t fulfil a fixture will have the result recorded as 28-0 to their opponents, equivalent to a four-try loss.
Though it is still possible for Saracens to quality for the knock-out phases, this result makes that extremely difficult.
The 5-0 pool point result will move Saracens down to fourth in their group, with the team below them Brive away to London Irish this weekend.
Last weekend saw Bristol’s game against Scarlets called off due to the virus, and Munster, Wasps and Cardiff had to put out weakened sides in order to field a team.