Navan appeal decision to award game to Cork club after mumps outbreak

Navan appeal decision to award game to Cork club after mumps outbreak
File photo of Navan RFC's ground.

Navan RFC are launching an appeal against an IRFU decision to award a walkover to Highfield after the Meath side failed to fulfil a fixture on medical grounds.

An outbreak of mumps hit the Navan camp before their previous Energia All-Ireland League Division 1B game against Old Wesley, which was due to be played on November 9.

One mumps case had been diagnosed earlier and isolated from the squad but on the morning of the Old Wesley game, three more players had become infected, as well as a suspected fourth case.

That game was postponed by the IRFU and refixed for the Thursday before Christmas, December 19.

The club medical officer, who consulted with the HSE in Navan, advised the squad to enter an isolation period of 14 days, where they wouldn't train or play games, to prevent any further outbreak.

The IRFU, after consultation with their medical department and HSE officials, subsequently advised the club there was no need to cancel any further games, including their November 16 game at home to Highfield.

They informed Navan that in previous cases of mumps outbreaks, clubs were able to manage the situation by withdrawing and isolating the affected individuals.

The HSE view, communicated by the IRFU to Navan, was that under such management of the outbreak, players were as likely to contract mumps sitting beside somebody in an office or on the bus as in a game of rugby.

The club reiterated their intention to follow their own medical advice, which resulted in the IRFU's Rugby Committee deciding to award the full five points to Highfield due to Navan being considered to have conceded the game.

The committee decided not to place any further sanction on Navan, such as a standard five-point deduction for not fielding a team, recognising that they were genuine in acting on their own medical advice.

Navan would also lose out on matchday income from the game not being played at home.

Navan are bottom of Division 1B, while Highfield are unbeaten at the top of the table, six points clear of Old Wesley, who are also unbeaten with a game less played, due to their refixed game against Navan.

After observing their 14-day isolation period, Navan are back in training ahead of Saturday's trip to Malone.

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