Chiefs to undergo additional testing

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By Mark Stevens

Rob Baxter has confirmed the Exeter Chiefs will undergo a second round of Covid-19 testing this week to ensure they can safely play against near neighbours Bristol Bears in the Gallagher Premiership at Sandy Park on Saturday (2pm).

The Chiefs director of rugby confirmed this morning there have been a small number of positive Covid-19 cases that were detected within his squad during Monday's Premiership Rugby's weekly screening programme.

Baxter, however, is confident he will be able to field a strong side for the top-of-the-table clash against the visiting Bears.

The Chiefs already been forced to forfeit a Heineken Champions Cup game away to Toulouse just before Christmas following an outbreak at the Devon club.

“We have had some positive tests, but that is as far as I can say on that really," said Baxter. “That’s had a slight impact on the availability of players but not huge. We’ve selected a team that looks very good.

“When we have anything in the camp Covid-wise, we always try to organise a second round of testing, so we will do that either tomorrow or Friday. That will just ensure when we take to the field we can, with that 100 per cent confidence, know we are not risking transmitting anything to Bristol.”

Asked if he was confident the game will go ahead, Baxter said: “At this stage I’m very confident, but experience has told me that every time I’ve said I’m confident about where the Covid scenario is within club rugby, something comes around and the opposite happens.

“At this stage we’ve done everything correctly, as we have done before. There’s no reason to say we should have any problems, but we’re doing it as a precaution.”

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