Wasps to take place in Premiership final after clearing latest coronavirus tests

By Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent
·4-min read

Wasps will take their place in Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership final against Exeter after receiving a clean bill of health following the final round of pre-match coronavirus tests.

Seven Wasps players and four backroom staff were diagnosed with Covid-19 ahead of further tests being undertaken on Tuesday.

It had cast doubt over their participation in the Twickenham showpiece occasion, but fears were allayed by no players or staff testing positive this week.

And Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter confirmed Chiefs tests were “completely negative right across the board”, with the final now set to take centre stage.

In a statement, Premiership Rugby said: “Premiership Rugby can confirm that Wasps have been given the all-clear to take their rightful place in Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership rugby final against Exeter Chiefs.

“Everyone at Premiership Rugby is delighted to confirm Wasps’ place in the final after the latest round of tests as part of our PCR Covid-19 screening programme.”

And Wasps chief executive Stephen Vaughan added: “I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to Premiership Rugby, the RFU (Rugby Football Union), Public Health England and Public Health Warwickshire for their clarity and assistance throughout this whole process.

“As a club, we are delighted that we can now take our rightful place in this Saturday’s Premiership Rugby final.

“To all of our fans and well-wishers, thank you for your many messages of support. This final is for you!”

Bristol, who finished third in the Premiership and were crushed 47-24 by play-off opponents Wasps 11 days ago, had been on standby to face European champions Exeter.

They won the European Challenge Cup last week, which they thought would be the end of their season, before hastily reconvening.

In a tweet, Bristol said: “We thought we might have been in…but now we’re out. Congratulations to Wasps and Exeter. Deserved finalists and we wish you both the best of luck for the final. Go well!”

Exeter will become only the fourth English club to complete a domestic and European trophy double if they beat Wasps, and Baxter is delighted the game will progress as planned.

“It’s obviously good news,” Baxter said. “We ourselves had the all-clear as well this morning, completely negative right across the board, which is fantastic news for us.

“It was great to have a message from (Wasps head coach) Lee (Blackett) this morning saying their testing had gone well. And now we can confirm and get on with things.

“Wasps will deem themselves very unlucky. I think they are one of the teams that have hardly picked up anything at all right the way through, and then right at the business-end of the season they’ve had one little outbreak.

Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks – Gallagher Premiership – Sandy Park
Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter (Simon Galloway/PA)

“I have every confidence that they are doing everything correctly, and I have got every confidence that this has been dealt with and everyone who will now be on the pitch in the final, both from Exeter and from Wasps, will be Covid-free and there won’t be any danger to anybody.

“People probably don’t realise that even one failed test can set a chain of events going that can be quite difficult to deal with, and it takes quite a while to get on top of that.

“There is a nerve-wracking experience you go through each week. We have a little cheer in the team room when we announce to the players that we have got through it again. You mark it off every week.

“We’ve all had to get on with it, and I think on the whole, we have dealt with it extremely well.”