PARIS (Reuters) - French Top 14 club Stade Francais' 2020-21 season opener against Bordeaux Begles has been postponed over health risks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the national rugby league (LNR) said on Tuesday.
The Paris club were scheduled to play Bordeaux in the French capital on Friday, but were unable to field the required number of players for the game, the LNR added.
The league said in a statement https://www.lnr.fr/sites/default/files/la_ligue_nationale_de_rugby_annonce_le_report_de_la_rencontre_stade_francais_paris_-_union_bordeaux_begles_.pdf that it had postponed the match after a meeting with both clubs, citing the health and safety of players as "top priority".
Stade Francais last month cancelled a pre-season game against Toulon because some of their players had developed lesions on their lungs after contracting COVID-19 and needed an extra week to recuperate.
The LNR said the rescheduled game would be played on the weekend of Sept. 26-27 should Bordeaux, who are playing in the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals, fail to progress to the last four of the tournament.
If they win the quarter-final, the Stade Francais game will be played on a date to be decided later.
The 2019-20 Top 14 season was suspended in March because of the novel coronavirus outbreak and officially abandoned in early June with no champions named.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru ; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Ed Osmond)