Irish rugby's Project Restart, due to kick in with two interpros on the weekend of August 22/23, has been hit by the news that an academy player within the wider Munster playing squad has tested positive for Covid-19.
The individual immediately self-isolated on recognising symptoms last Sunday and the senior squad and academy have not trained today in Limerick as a precaution. The HSE has been contacted and the contact tracing process has started.
Five academy players and one senior player have been identified as potential close contacts from social and household settings. Those six players have also begun to self-isolate and the province is awaiting further guidance from the HSE on the matter.
The senior squad will, nonetheless, return to their high performance centre on Monday to complete the third phase of the IRFU's routine PCR testing programme ahead of Saturday week's PRO14 game against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium.
“The health and safety of our players and staff is the priority and that is why we are taking all precautions, going above and beyond, ensuring the safe resumption of training and rugby next week,” said Munster Rugby head of medical, Dr Jamie Kearns.
“The player involved has not been in the High Performance Centre this week and the HSE have confirmed that the training group are not considered as close contacts. The individual is continuing to be monitored medically and remains well.
“There are protocols and policies in place that everyone has been following, and we will continue to be vigilant in all our efforts as we move closer to the return of rugby on Saturday week.”