Super League has suffered a major blow just two weeks on from the competition’s resumption, after a number of Hull FC players, who played in Sunday’s fixture with Salford, tested positive for Covid-19.
Five Hull players who featured in the game, which they lost 54-18, were subsequently found to have the virus, as well as another who was not involved in their matchday side. Another member of the team who played is having a retest following an inconclusive result.But with the players who featured against Salford inevitably bringing the health of the Red Devils’ men into question due to the close-contact nature of rugby league, both teams have cancelled their respective training sessions on Wednesday morning. It is increasingly doubtful that their games against Castleford and Catalans respectively willgo ahead this weekend.All Super League players undergo testing once a week – with the results publicised on Friday mornings – but the Rugby Football League says it is already analysing Sunday’s game between the two sides to determine how many players from each team have to self-isolate as a result of the test and trace procedures the sport has agreed with Public Health England.The Hull players who have tested positive must quarantine for 10 days, immediately ruling them out of their game this weekend and casting doubt over the immediate future of the competition. The RFL has said that the impact of the results on this weekend’s Super League round, due to take place at St Helens on Saturday and Sunday, plus next weekend’s Challenge Cup fixtures will be determined as soon as possible.However, it seems inevitable that games will be cancelled, as well as the procedures surrounding testing altered. One club owner told the Guardian on Tuesday evening that testing players on the eve of their games is now imperative to avoid further cancellations and the risk of the domestic season, already squeezed into four months between August and November, completely collapsing.