Virus sees Leicester lock down ahead of new season

London (AFP) –


Leicester have stopped all training and closed the club's training ground with fewer than two weeks until the start of the new English Premiership season following a coronavirus outbreak, the Midlands club announced Thursday.

The Tigers returned several positive Covid-19 tests earlier this week that included both players and support staff.

Their scheduled first game of the delayed 2020/21 Premiership season is at home to Gloucester on November 21.

Meanwhile several other members of the playing squad and staff have been told to self-isolate after being identified as close contacts.

"Tigers have made the decision to pause all training commitments and close the training ground in a bid to maintain the integrity of the 2020-21 Gallagher Premiership season, as well as honouring our responsibilities to the Leicestershire community," read a club statement.

"Leicester Tigers takes its responsibility to maintain high standards extremely seriously at this time and is confident in the measures in place.

"All players will now continue their pre-season programme alone in their household bubbles while the Oval Park (training) facility remains closed.

"Health, wellbeing and safety are paramount and all players and staff are being monitored by Tigers medical staff, in addition to their families being offered support where necessary."

Leicester added they intend carrying out additional testing of all players and staff on Friday ahead of Monday's weekly testing in line with Premiership Rugby guidelines.

Fallen giants Leicester finished second-bottom in the Premiership last season, with only Saracens, relegated after incurring huge points penalties for salary cap breaches, finishing below them in the table.