Munster’s Rainbow Cup hopes ended after Benetton given Ospreys walkover
Covid-19 cases in Welsh camp give Italians walkover and end province’s final chances
Benetton’s clash with the Ospreys in Bridgend has been called off due to positive Covid-19 tests in the Welsh camp. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Inpho
Munster’s hopes of qualifying for the Pro14 Rainbow Cup final on Saturday week in Treviso have been ended by the cancellation of the Ospreys-Benetton game this coming Saturday due to positive cases of Covid-19 in the Welsh camp.
In a deeply unsatisfactory conclusion to the flawed northern half of the competition, Benetton have thus been awarded a walkover, so ensuring the Italians have qualified for the scheduled north v south final in their home ground on June 19th.
Going into this weekend’s matches, Munster remained firmly in the mix, knowing that a win away to Zebre on Friday evening, all the more so with a bonus point, coupled with anything less than a victory for Benetton in Bridgend on Saturday evening, would have secured a place in the final.
Instead, like the remainder of the round six fixtures, Munster’s game in Zebre is now a dead rubber.
“PRO14 Rugby can confirm that the Round 6 Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup fixture between Ospreys Rugby and Benetton Rugby due to take place this Saturday (June 12) has been cancelled due to positive Covid-19 cases in the Ospreys squad,” said the tournament organizers in a statement.
“As a result of the cancellation, Benetton Rugby have qualified for the Guinness Pro14 Rainbow Cup Final on June 19.
“Ospreys Rugby are working closely with Public Health Wales following the latest round of Covid-19 testing at the club, which returned 3 positive results.
“The decision to cancel the game is a result of the mandate from Public Health Wales that all individuals who were part of the travelling party from the previous fixture are now required to self-isolate in-line with public health protocols.
“With no available weekends remaining, the game will not be rescheduled. As a result, PRO14 rugby will use the protocol decided prior to the 2020/21 season whereby a game that could not be reschedule would result in that fixture deemed a 0-0 draw, but four match points would be awarded to the team who had not been the cause of the postponement.
“In this case, Benetton will receive four match points. This protocol ensures that no artificial scoring points were added to the tries/points for and against columns.
“Adding four points to Benetton’s current total of 18 will provide the Italian team with a final standing of 22 points. It is mathematically impossible for any other team in the table to win more than 20 points, therefore Benetton Rugby will be the ‘Northern’ representative in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup Final on Saturday, June 19.”