Relief for Leeds Rhinos as Covid-19 test result proves negative

Leeds Rhinos have confirmed the player who was awaiting coronavirus test results on Friday night has  received them and he and the family member who had displayed symptoms both returned a negative result.

Saturday, 12th September 2020, 11:38 am
Updated Saturday, 12th September 2020, 11:44 am
Luke Gale's winning drop goal. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Leeds Rhinos have confirmed the player who was awaiting coronavirus test results on Friday night has received them and he and the family member who had displayed symptoms both returned a negative result.

Rhinos stood down seven players ahead of the Betfred Super League clash with Huddersfield Giants at St Helens' TW Stadium as a "precaution".

One member of the squad was awaiting the results of an antigen test after a family member displayed Covid-19 symptoms.

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Konrad Hurrell scores Leeds' opening try against Giants. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

As a part of the track and trace protocol, six additional members of the squad - who had been in close contact with the player earlier in the week - did not train on Thursday and were stood down from the matchday side.

All members of the squad will return to training on Monday morning as normal, ahead of Friday's Coral Challenge Cup quarter-final against Hull KR.

The entire squad and backroom staff will have their scheduled weekly coronavirus antigen test on Monday afternoon.

Coach Richard Agar admitted the scare disrupted Rhinos’ build-up to Friday’s 13-12 win.

Training on Wednesday was cancelled, back injury victim Adam Cuthbertson was drafted into the team and on-loan Brett Ferres went into the squad to make his second debut for Rhinos.

Players named in Leeds’ initial 21-man squad who did not feature in the matchday 17 were Matt Prior, Alex Mellor, Rhyse Martin, Tom Holroyd, Callum McLelland and Luke Briscoe.

Agar confirmed: “At 6.30 we weren’t sure what our team was going to be.

“We had a player who had a family member who wasn’t so good, had some symptoms, so at 9am on Thursday the player and his family member went to get tested.

“The track and trace then comes into it. At training it rubbed out another six of our players - not all of them were due to play, but some of them might.

“Because you’re not allowed to have your secondary test through the firm and lab that does our tests, we had to go through the National Health.

“There has been a spike in cases and they get your results back in 48 hours, but we’d got 24-36 hours to try and get this test back.”

Agar stressed: “The guys who were isolated until we got the test back all feel great, it was only a precaution.

“They drove over [to St Helens] in the hope this email was going to land before 6.30, but obviously we had to put a contingency team together.

“We were hopeful we’d get the email back. If it was a positive test they were down anyway, if it was negative they were all good to go - but by the time we had to hand our team sheet in, that test result didn’t come so we had to make a number of changes.”

Having had two games postponed last week, Rhinos were keen not to fall further behind schedule.

“At the moment this is where we are at,” Agar stressed.

“We are not going to complain, we are going to get a team out as much as we can to keep the game going and keep us on the field.

“We will absolutely do our best and adapt to any situation we need to, with complete respect to the current situation.

“It is just unfortunate. Does it affect preparation? My word.

“Will it affect every team in some way this year, I think it will, but it’s important we try and keep the game going.”

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