Wasps cleared to play in English rugby Premiership final

London (AFP) –


Wasps will play Exeter in the English Premiership rugby union final after they were given a coronavirus all-clear, organisers announced Wednesday.

Their place in English domestic rugby's showpiece event at Twickenham on Saturday had been in doubt after 11 positive tests, including players and backroom staff, since last week. Wasps had also suspended training.

However, Premiership Rugby gave them the all clear on Wednesday which means they -- rather than Bristol Bears, the team they beat in the semi-final play-offs -- will face newly-crowned European champions Exeter.

The decision was taken by the Rugby Football Union, Premiership Rugby and Public Health England officials.

"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," said a statement.

Wasps last appeared in the Premiership final in 2017 losing to Exeter in extra-time.

Their chances of avenging that result this time round won't have been helped by the significant disruption to their preparations.

But Wasps chief executive Stephen Vaughan was just delighted they can keep playing after head coach Lee Blackett engineered a stunning mid-season revival following the departure of the long-serving Dai Young.

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

"To all of our fans and well-wishers, thank you for your many messages of support, this final is for you!"

Wasps revealed Wednesday that a test from a member of their coaching staff on Saturday which produced a negative test result had in fact been damaged in transit.

The club added the staff member would work socially distanced from colleagues until the result was confirmed.

Earlier this month, Sale missed qualifying for the play-offs after their final regular-season match, against Worcester, was called off after a clutch of the northwest club's players tested positive for the virus.