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Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks: Gallagher Premiership game off after Covid outbreak in Sharks camp

Sale Sharks players returned positive tests in their Christmas Day round of results with a significant number of their squad ruled out - Professional Game Board Testing Oversight Group was consulted and fixture was deemed "too risky" to go ahead

Sale sharks
Image: Sale Sharks will not be in action on Boxing Day

Hopes of a full Boxing Day schedule in the Gallagher Premiership have been dashed after Sale's trip to Newcastle was called off because of a Covid-19 outbreak inside the Sharks squad.

Premiership Rugby had announced on Christmas Eve 28 players and six staff from nine teams had returned positive tests and that all games on Boxing Day and December 27 would be going ahead as scheduled.

But the Sharks confirmed on Christmas Day a further round of testing had found positive results and, as a result, a "significant number" of their squad had been ruled out of the trip to Kingston Park.

The decision to cancel the match was taken after consultation between the Professional Game Board (PGB) Testing Oversight Group and the Sharks, with agreement coming the risk was too great for the fixture to take place safely.

A Premiership Rugby spokesperson said: "Our priority is the health and safety of everyone involved with Sale Sharks and Newcastle Falcons and we will give the clubs any support they need. We wish everyone affected a full and speedy recovery.

"Neither Premiership Rugby nor the club will be naming any of the players or staff involved and we'd ask everyone to respect their privacy."

Premiership Rugby confirmed a panel will be convened to determine the allocation of points and a further announcement will be made in due course.

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