French quarantine rules could disrupt Champions and Challenge Cup matches | Champions Cup

New doubts have been cast over European fixtures involving English clubs playing in France this week over fears that strict travel rules will no longer wreak havoc on the Champions and Challenge Cups.

Newcastle are due to play in France on Friday, as are Bath and Sale this weekend, and while organizers European Professional Club Rugby said last week that all matches will go as planned, the main stumbling block is is that clubs must isolate for 48 hours on arrival before their matches, according to the travel rules in force. On Monday evening, officials put pressure on the French authorities through the National Rugby League to relax this rule. But if the 48-hour isolation decision is upheld, those devices would be in considerable doubt, with English clubs raising concerns over travel.

Newcastle’s meeting with Biarritz in the Challenge Cup on Friday means the issue is all the more pressing for Dean Richards, who has raised concerns after Saturday’s loss to Northampton. Sale, meanwhile, has already raised the prospect of not going to Clermont for the Champions Cup match on Sunday with his rugby manager, Alex Sanderson, expressing fears his South African players will not get the visas. needed in time. Bath, who faces La Rochelle in the Champions Cup on Saturday, was also in limbo on Monday night.

The EPCR stressed that clubs will be able to train during the 48-hour period, but English clubs fear the need to produce a negative test to get out of isolation, which in turn raises the possibility that members of the travel group may be blocked in France. Newcastle’s situation is all the more complicated as they are also due to play at Toulon on Saturday 22 January.

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The EPCR had said all matches would go as planned after revealing that the French government had allowed teams to travel “in pursuit of economic activity”. It seemed to avoid a repeat of the seven canceled in December, but hopes of avoiding another decimated round of fixtures appear to hinge on the French government’s willingness to drop its 48-hour demands.

“We don’t know where we are with all of this and to be honest I don’t know if we can go for it,” Richards said. “So far there has been no relaxation from the French government regarding the 48 hour isolation requirement and it is very much on hold. We just don’t know where we are.

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