Leeds Rhinos won't travel to France for Catalans Dragons clash due to coronavirus scare

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Leeds Rhinos have decided not to travel to France for Saturday’s Betfred Super League game at Catalans Dragons.

Rhinos say a player is showing signs of the coronavirus and it would be irresponsible of them to travel.

They were booked to fly to Barcelona at 9am on Friday, but a decision was made late on Thursday evening and the squad did not travel to the airport.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Rugby Football League have not officially called the game off, but Catalans are believed to be fully supportive of Rhinos’ decision.

Kevin SinfieldKevin Sinfield
Kevin Sinfield

A Rhinos statement in full said:

"Leeds Rhinos have decided not to travel to Spain this morning for the scheduled Betfred Super League clash against Catalans Dragons, due to be played this Saturday behind closed doors at Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan, on medical grounds.

"A member of the Leeds Rhinos squad has self-isolated after showing symptoms of possible coronavirus. The player is being managed in line with the current Department of Health guidance and subsequent steps for the rest of the squad, if necessary, will be advised by the Rhinos medical team ​in conjunction with the NHS.

"It was decided by the RFL Board on Tuesday that the game should go ahead behind closed doors after the French authorities banned gatherings of over 1,000 spectators. However, both clubs have remained in regular dialogue since then and, following the latest development, it was decided that the team should not travel to Spain and France this weekend. The team were due to fly to Barcelona on Friday morning before travelling north to Perpignan ahead of Saturday’s game and then returning to UK via Barcelona on Sunday afternoon."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rhinos' director of rugby Kevin Sinfield said in the statement: 'We are disappointed to be in a position whereby we have had to make this decision but the health and well being of everyone is our paramount concern particularly with us having to fly to fulfil the fixture.

"We were travelling on a scheduled flight to Barcelona and with one of our players self-isolating, we felt it was the responsible thing to do both for our players and staff and members of the public who we would share the flight with. I would like to thank Catalans Dragons for their understanding."

The RFL were keen for the game to go ahead.

They released a brief statement saying: "We have been advised by Leeds Rhinos that they will not be travelling to France to fulfil their scheduled fixture against Catalans Dragons.

"The consequences of this decision on the match, and any sanction, will be determined by the RFL Board."

Catalans were unhappy with the decision to play behind closed doors and wanted the game called off earlier in the week.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.