Scarlets handed 28-0 victory over Toulon in Champions Cup

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(Reuters) - Welsh club Scarlets have been awarded a 28-0 victory and five match points in the second round of the Champions Cup after their game against French side Toulon was called off over COVID-19 concerns, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said.

Toulon pulled out of Friday's game at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli due to safety concerns over a Scarlets player testing positive for COVID-19.

Scarlets had told the EPCR that after one of their players had tested positive for the virus following last weekend's game against Bath, the infected player self-isolated and two of his close contacts were not named in Friday's squad against Toulon.

The action satisfied league organisers but not Toulon, who also rejected EPCR's offer to play the game at a later date.

"EPCR would like to emphasise that blame was not considered as a factor during the deliberations, and the committee’s decisions were made with a view to facilitating the completion of this season's Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup in unprecedented circumstances," EPCR said in a statement https://www.epcrugby.com/2020/12/19/match-result-decisions-round-2 on Saturday.

Elsewhere, France's Agen were handed a 28-0 victory and five match points in the Challenge Cup after their match against Italian club Benetton was cancelled due to a number of confirmed COVID-19 cases within the Benetton squad.

The preliminary stage fixture was scheduled for 1300 GMT on Saturday at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo in Treviso, with Benetton looking to make it two wins from two in Europe this season.

Earlier this week, French clubs La Rochelle, Toulouse and Lyon were each handed 28-0 victories and five match points in the Champions Cup second round after their games were cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas and Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)