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Men's Rugby Union Rob Baxter asks: Do we still need to test players for Covid?

EXETER boss Rob Baxter feels that an argument for continued Covid-19 testing at Premiership clubs will fade “pretty quickly.”

Players and staff at all 12 Premiership clubs have been subjected to regular tests since early July, while the league season restarted on August 14 following a five-month break because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Baxter, whose team are through to the Champions Cup final and Premiership play-offs next month, has stressed a need for continued vigilance.

But he also feels that “genuine medical reasons” are looming not to continue with testing in English rugby union’s top flight.

“Hopefully, things progress very quickly and hopefully maybe it will be a matter of weeks where testing is deemed unnecessary,” Baxter said.

“The reality is, when you look at the number of tests being made and how few cases are being picked up, I don’t think we are far off genuine medical reasons not to continue with the testing.

“I think most clubs would be in agreement that what is being picked up and the actual transfer rates, even around players who are testing positive, are so, so small that I think the argument for continued testing will die away pretty quickly.

“There are a lot of reasons for it. It would save a fortune, it would free up a block of testing for other people, and the transmissions rates within the club because of the hygiene levels that are there and the age range of the players, positive tests are not leading to mass outbreaks. You would think they would.

“If you are testing once a week, we are not picking up the player the minute he becomes positive. We are picking them up at some period at which the virus has been in their system, and yet they are mingling through the week.

“Hopefully, we are moving to a different rugby environment in a matter of weeks.”


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