Racing all but guaranteed top spot in Leinster and Ulster’s pool after Saints walkover

Northampton made to forfeit a 28-0 result after reporting positive Covid cases in camp

Racing 92 are all but guaranteed top spot in Pool A after Northampton had to forfeit the fixture. Photograph:  John Berry/Getty Images

Racing 92 are all but guaranteed top spot in Pool A after Northampton had to forfeit the fixture. Photograph: John Berry/Getty Images

 

Racing 92 are all but guaranteed top spot in the Champions Cup Pool A after being awarded a walkover in their final group game against Northampton. Saints have reported positive Covid cases in their camp and cannot fulfil the fixture.

The result means that Racing will finish on 19 points, a tally that can be matched by Ulster if they secure a bonus point win at home to Clermont later today, but Racing’s superior points difference is unlikely to be matched.

The decision also rules out any outside chance Leinster had of finshing top of the pool as the highest points total they can now reach is 16.

Tournament organisers released the following statement about the cancellation:

“EPCR has been informed by Northampton Saints that they have recorded a number of positive test results for Covid-19 among their tournament squad and as a consequence, the club is not in a position to fulfil its Heineken Champions Cup, round four match against Racing 92 scheduled for tomorrow (Sunday, January 23rd),” read a statement.

“The Pool A fixture at Paris La Defense Arena is therefore regrettably cancelled with Racing 92 awarded the match on a 28-0, five match points basis, in accordance with the tournament rules.

“EPCR would like to acknowledge the efforts of both clubs to fulfil the fixture, and would also like to reiterate that awarding the match to Racing 92 is a tournament management measure with the objective of ensuring that all fixtures in the 2021-22 Heineken Champions Cup are accounted for, and not a sanction.”

The cancellation ends winless Northampton’s hopes of making the Champions Cup round of 16 and all but secures Racing finishing top of Group A.

The Saints could still qualify for the knockout stage of the European Challenge Cup, with clubs finishing between eighth and 11th dropping into the second-tier competition.

On Friday, the Champions Cup ties between Leicester and Bordeaux-Begles and Toulouse and Cardiff were cancelled because of coronavirus, as was Newcastle’s Challenge Cup clash against Toulon.

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