Rugby: Champions Cup teams not at fault for COVID-19 cancellations, says Monye

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(Reuters) - Teams in the Champions Cup that are unable to fulfill fixtures due to COVID-19 concerns should not be punished with 28-0 defeats, former England wing Ugo Monye has said.

Toulouse were awarded a 28-0 victory against defending champions Exeter Chiefs last week after a number of Exeter players and staff tested positive for COVID-19, preventing them from travelling to France for the match.

Glasgow Warriors, Bath and Toulon were the other clubs that suffered similar fates as Exeter.

"It feels far too harsh a sanction in a condensed season," Monye, who was capped 14 times by England between 2008-2012, told the BBC. "There is no blame in this pandemic. The game needs an element of empathy, this feels quite clinical."

"It doesn't sit well with me ... If you've done everything you can to follow the guidelines then why should you be punished. My fear is, you might not have the eight best teams in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals.

"You will just have the ones that managed to dodge the virus the best or just got lucky with it."

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry)