A return to competitive rugby was given a boost today with confirmation from the IRFU that a second round of tests involving Ulster and Connacht players has revealed no positive cases of Covid-19. 

In total, 149 players and staff were tested on Wednesday 15 July across both provinces and all tests returned negative. 

The staff and players have been cleared to enter the next phase of their return to rugby, which includes a graduated return to contact training. 

The total number of tests now stands at 407, with zero positive cases. 

Munster and Leinster will undergo their second round of PCR testing in the coming weeks. 

"The players and staff will continue to undergo daily medical screening and assessment," IRFU Medical Director Rod McLoughlin said. 

"Leinster and Munster will undergo their second testing round when they return from their mid pre-season breaks." 

The abridged Pro14 season will resume next month with two rounds of national derbies.

Leinster and Munster will face each other at the Aviva Stadium in their first game back on 22 August with Ulster and Connacht squaring off in Dublin on the same weekend.

Leinster conclude their regular season campaign against Ulster a week later when Munster take on Connacht, again at the Aviva.

The top two in each Conference will then proceed to semi-finals on 5 September with the final on 12 September at a yet to be confirmed venue.