Leinster's Heineken Champions Cup match against Montpellier has been called off with the French side awarded a 28-0 win.

The teams were due to meet tomorrow evening in France in a second-round Pool A clash and earlier today named their starting XVs.

Leo Cullen's squad had delayed their flight until tomorrow morning, however, concern over the escalating Covid-19 situation have led organisers EPCR to cancel the game.

The competition has already been disrupted with Scarlets conceding last weekend's meeting with Bristol.

Tournament rules stipulate that the team not at fault for the cancellation is awarded a 28-0 victory.

Leinster say they are "disappointed" with the decision to award all match points to their opponents.

"Following a meeting of an independent Match Risk Assessment Committee, EPCR has been advised that the Heineken Champions Cup, Round 2 fixture between Montpellier Hérault Rugby and Leinster Rugby scheduled for tomorrow (Friday, 17 December) at the GGL Stadium cannot go ahead safely," an EPCR statement read.

"The contest in Pool A is therefore cancelled with Montpellier Hérault Rugby awarded the match on a 28-0, five match points basis, in accordance with the Tournament Rules.

"The Match Risk Assessment Committee, made up of medical doctors from EPCR's Medical Advisory Group as well as an independent medical specialist with experience in virology, advised EPCR of its concerns following new positive Covid-19 test results from the Leinster Rugby playing squad, and regrettably the decision was made to cancel the match.

"EPCR would like to acknowledge the efforts by both clubs to fulfil the fixture, and would also like to emphasise that awarding the match to Montpellier is a tournament management measure with the objective of ensuring that all fixtures in the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup are accounted for, and not a sanction."

Leinster, four-time winners, started their campaign with a 45-20 win over Bath last weekend, while Montpellier lost 42-6 to Exeter.

Leinster Rugby subsequently expressed its "disappointment with EPCR over the decision to award a 28-0 win in Montpellier's favour."

"The Leinster Rugby squad and staff have had five rounds of Antigen tests and four rounds of PCR tests in the last six days and a group of players and staff, who have all come through each stage of those tests, had been selected to represent the club in France tomorrow evening and arrangements made accordingly," the province said in a statement.

"As a result of these test results and the measures implemented by Leinster Rugby, a letter was issued today, Thursday, 16th December 2021, to Leinster Rugby from Public Health Ireland confirming that the group could travel to France for the game.

"At all times Leinster Rugby has complied with all measures and protocols required of the club by EPCR, and by the HSE, and will continue to do so.

"While we are disappointed with the outcome of today's decision by EPCR, our focus now is the health and well-being of all our players and staff."

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