Saints doing everything they can to 'kick Covid back out' as they bid to face Leinster

Matt FergusonMatt Ferguson
Matt Ferguson
Matt Ferguson says Saints are desperate to 'kick Covid back out' as they bid to return to action against Leinster on January 15.

The club have been hit by a recent outbreak of the virus, forcing the cancellation of this Saturday's East Midlands derby against Leicester Tigers.

The training ground at Franklin's Gardens has been closed and Saints will not return until the next round of testing on Monday.

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The players who have tested positive for Covid-19, and their close contacts, will be isolating for 10 days.

But Ferguson remains hopeful that Saints can get back in action to host Leinster in the Champions Cup next week.

The assistant coach said: "It has to be safety first.

"We do believe we had a squad that were fit and able to play the game (against Leicester), but we have to take the information taken from the public health authority and the wider scheme of things for our players, staff, their families and also Tigers.

"It has to be the right decision.

"We'd had a steady but small increase in the number of cases that have been reported and the decision that was made on Wednesday isn't a rugby decision.

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"If we were a shoe factory or a supermarket, Public Health England would look at that increase of cases and make a decision based on that.

"Within a squad of 47 players, we've got plenty who are fit and able, but it's the fact there has been a small increase over a few weeks that has led to the decision.

"It's frustrating because the lads have been unbelievably diligent in terms of the way they've acted.

"The heroes of Saints over the past eight and nine months are the people we never see on the pitch: our Covid managers, the cleaners.

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"We have one way coming in, one way going out, toilets are marked and you go into a shower now and there's a big red cross on one and a tick on another.

"We have meetings outdoors undercover, if we have to spend any time in a room we've got face masks.

"There's been an unbelievable amount of work done in the background to make sure this doesn't happen and unfortunately as I think will happen with probably every club, it's just crept through the door.

"What we're doing now is making sure we kick it back out over the next 10 days and crack on back into Europe."