Fiji-Italy Autumn Nations Cup match called off over new COVID-19 cases

Sydney, Australia, Nov 18 (efe-epa).- The Autumn Nations Cup rugby match between Fiji and Italy scheduled for Nov. 21 in Ancona has been canceled after 29 of the Fijian delegation tested positive for COVID-19, the rugby body of the South Pacific island nation confirmed Wednesday.

“As per COVID 19 protocols, tests conducted have returned 29 positive COVID cases (management and players) within the camp and based on the recommendation of the tournament medical board, our medical team and expert advice, the players will remain in quarantine isolation and undergo further tests. As such the match cannot take place and has been canceled,” said Fiji Rugby Chief Executive John O’Connor in a statement.

The 32 players and managers of the delegation of the”Flying Fijians,” as the team is known, are in a hotel in Saint-Galmier, France.

All members are asymptomatic and “all are healthy and doing well” with no one requiring treatment, the statement said.

It added that after contact tracing, medical teams have narrow down the origin of the virus but “since the team has been training and living in their own bubble, it has spread to other members of the team and management.”

The delegation will remain in isolation and monitoring prior to further testing.

“Fiji Rugby and the Organisers are committed in taking all necessary action and steps to ensure that all players are tested negative prior to any further consideration,” the statement said.

The organizers of the Autumn Nations Cup reported last week the cancellation of the match between Fiji and France, which was scheduled for Nov. 15 in the French town of Vannes, after four cases of COVID-19 were detected in the Fijian delegation.

O’Connor also confirmed that in accordance with tournament rules, points for canceled matches will be awarded to the teams of Italy and France.

However, the federation did not clarify what will happen to the meeting between Fiji and Scotland scheduled for Nov. 28 in Edinburgh.

The teams competing in the Autumn Nations Cup include those involved in the Six Nations Championship – England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales – as well as Georgia and Fiji. EFE-EPA


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