Scotland’s Autumn Test versus Japan in doubt

Local reports claim that JRFU has chosen not to take part in eight team international tournament due to 'complications cause by coronavirus'

Japan are due to travel to Europe this Autumn with a re-match of last year's World Cup clash against Scotland on the schedule. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Japan are due to travel to Europe this Autumn with a re-match of last year's World Cup clash against Scotland on the schedule. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SCOTLAND’S Autumn Test schedule plans could be thrown up in the air if reports coming out of Japan about their national team not travelling to Europe later in the year prove to be accurate.

The Brave Blossoms are supposed to take part in an eight nation competition which is being planned between late October and early December as part of the process of getting rugby back up in running. They are to be in a four team pool alongside France, Italy and Scotland, and are expected to play Gregor Townsend‘s team at Murrayfield.

However, it has been reported locally that complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic has prompted the JRFU to opt out of the European competition.


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“With Japan heavily restricting the entry of foreign passport holders amid the pandemic, members of the Brave Blossoms coaching staff have been kept out of the country, making it difficult to hold a domestic camp in preparation for the tournament,” stated a report in Kyoto News.

“The JRFU will look at other activities for the national team later this year, including the possibility of a Test match.”

Ulster hit by coronavirus outbreak

Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s PRO14 play-off opponents Ulster have been hit by a coronavirus outbreak. The Irish province released a statement this morning that explained that a. number of cases have been identified within the Academy squad.

As soon as the cases were identified, Ulster Rugby immediately stood down all training of both the Academy and Senior squads and sought to identify any potential close contacts. All individuals potentially exposed to the virus have already commenced self-isolating,” said the statement.

“The Public Health Authority (PHA) has been contacted, and the contact tracing process has started, in line with public health advice.”

One senior squad member has been identified as a potential contact and is already self-isolating. Routine PCR testing, part of the IRFU’s Return to Play protocols, took place with the Senior squad today, with results due to be released tomorrow in line with existing processes in place from previous testing rounds.

“Following confirmation of multiple Academy players testing positive for COVID-19, we are closely following public health advice in line with the IRFU’s Return to Play protocols,” said Ulster Rugby Medical Director, Michael Webb. “As a result, we have taken a number of precautionary measures as we await the results of further testing. We are supporting the individuals involved and all will continue to be medically monitored.

“Our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of our players and staff, and we will continue to work closely with both the IRFU and PHA as we look to make a safe and measured return to rugby.”

No details have been released yet on whether this could impact Ulster’s ability to play their final game of the regular PRO14 season against Leinster on Saturday evening, or the Edinburgh match the following weekend.


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About David Barnes 3911 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

4 Comments

    • It’s just the academy – all senior Ulster players have been tested and confirmed negative. Their game is going ahead this weekend.

  1. Get Georgia in to replace Japan. They’re not quite up to the same standard but they deserve a chance.

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