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Four Wasps players test positive for Covid-19 just 10 days before Premiership final

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four wasps players test positive for covid 19 just 10 days before premiership final

Wasps are arranging an emergency round of Covid testing this weekend in the hope of confirming that an outbreak at the club won’t derail their appearance in the Premiership final a week on Saturday.

The Coventry-based club were on Wednesday stunned to learn that four players and three members of staff had tested positive for the virus.

Wasps cancelled training for the rest of the week as a precaution, which has undermined their build-up to the showpiece at Twickenham, where they are due to face Exeter.

Wasps coach Lee Blackett has seen his preparations for Twickenham final hit by positive tests

Wasps coach Lee Blackett has seen his preparations for Twickenham final hit by positive tests

Wasps coach Lee Blackett has seen his preparations for Twickenham final hit by positive tests

With the next scheduled tests not until Tuesday, Sportsmail understands Wasps are consulting with Public Health England about the best time for an extra round to take place.

That is likely to happen on Saturday or Sunday with a view to providing an update before Lee Blackett’s squad resume training on Monday.

On Wednesday night, a Premiership source insisted: ‘There is no impact on the final at this stage.’

However, there will be fears that the conclusion of the domestic season could be plunged into further chaos, after the outbreak at Sale — 19 positive tests one week were followed by a further eight the next — forced them out of the title race.

Wasps are facing one of three scenarios. Their hope is that the next tests will show no further positive cases, which would mean the outbreak is under control and they can prepare to take on Exeter with minimum disruption.

That is a possibility as the initial speculation is that academy players have tested positive and no other players have had to enter isolation as a result of the swift, forensic contact tracing which went on all on Wednesday.

Wasps beat Bristol on Saturday to book Premiership final against Exeter Chiefs on October 24

Wasps beat Bristol on Saturday to book Premiership final against Exeter Chiefs on October 24

Wasps beat Bristol on Saturday to book Premiership final against Exeter Chiefs on October 24

The second scenario is that the additional testing reveals more positive results, but a modest number which will not prevent Wasps fielding a match-day 23 in the final.

The ‘nuclear’ scenario is that there are several more positive test results and the club are unable to fulfil the fixture.

In that event, they would have to forfeit — leaving Premiership Rugby to decide whether the trophy would be awarded to Exeter or the final should go ahead, potentially involving a losing semi-finalist.

Bristol moved promptly to confirm they have had no positive test results this week, despite facing Wasps at the Ricoh Arena last Saturday. Pat Lam’s squad will fly to France as planned today, ahead of Friday night’s European Challenge Cup Final against Toulon in Aix-en-Provence.

Exeter have also had a Covid all-clear from their latest tests, but they are awaiting confirmation that Racing 92 have overcome their recent outbreak to be cleared for Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup Final in Bristol.

Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter revealed there will be a medical review meeting this morning if the Parisians still have unresolved issues.

The indications last night were that the continent’s marquee occasion will proceed as planned.

Wasps, who beat Bristol on Saturday, cancelled training this week as a precautionary measure

Wasps, who beat Bristol on Saturday, cancelled training this week as a precautionary measure

Wasps, who beat Bristol on Saturday, cancelled training this week as a precautionary measure

After declaring that England wing Jack Nowell has recovered from injury and is available to line up against Racing, Baxter described the tension which accompanies each round of testing, saying: ‘Today the test results came through at about 5.20am. I can tell you for a fact that virtually all the staff are sat by their phones by 5am because it’s the thing that flips everything.

‘If you have positive tests, you’ve straight away got to start dealing with not only how you change selection, but also you’ve got to start the track and trace procedures to see which other players might be removed from selection.’

Racing have been training in Corsica to escape the Covid threat in Paris and their Scotland fly-half, Finn Russell, said: ‘We came over to a hotel here on Sunday, to keep us in a bubble ahead of the final. That should hopefully work.

‘We’ve been in the hotel to try to be as safe as possible. I believe that we are all going to be OK for the weekend.

‘We’re very isolated as a group here so I would think no one will be able to bring it in or pass it on to us.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Lille 2 Celtic 2: Elyounoussi inspires Hoops to hard-fought point as Lille battle back from two goals down

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lille 2 celtic 2 elyounoussi inspires hoops to hard fought point as lille battle back from two goals down

MOHAMED ELYOUNOUSSI netted a brilliant double as Lille battled back from two goals down against Celtic.

The odds were firmly stacked against the Scottish champions getting any kind of result against big-spending opponents Lille following a dire week.

Celtic blew a two-goal lead away to Lille

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Celtic blew a two-goal lead away to LilleCredit: Reuters
Mo Elyounoussi thought he would be the hero for Celtic

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Mo Elyounoussi thought he would be the hero for CelticCredit: Reuters

The Hoops could have walked away from the Stade Pierre Mauroy with all three points after storming into a sensational 2-0 first-half lead.

But the hosts managed to turn the game on its head with a magnificent second-half comeback in France.

Celtic can be proud of their performance against a team joint top of Ligue 1 with PSG but will be disappointed not to have held on to a famous victory.

Under-fire boss Neil Lennon made just one change to his team from the weekend’s goal fest at Pittodrie – with skipper Scott Brown replacing Tom Rogic in the engine room.

Scott Bain kept his place between the sticks and the Scotland squad man repaid Lennon’s faith in him with a brilliant penalty save to deny £27million striker Jonathan David his first goal for Lille.

Lille rested Turkish striker Burak Yilmaz and Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches as the French side made five changes from Sunday’s stalemate with Nice.

Celtic – who looked far more organised with four at the back – started positively with some early possession.

Ryan Christie flashed a free-kick from a dangerous area well wide inside five minutes.

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The hosts then started to find their feet in the game as Bain pulled off a fine one-handed save to prevent Boubakary Soumare breaking the deadlock.

Swiss hitman Albian Ajeti had the ball in the net for Celtic just before the 20 minute mark but he strayed offside from Elyounoussi’s pass.

Ajeti vented his frustrations minutes later as he blazed a guilt-edged opportunity over the bar from just seven yards out after yet more clever play from Elyounoussi.

Elyounoussi was at the heart of every attack for the visitors – and soon opened the scoring with a moment of brilliance.

The Norway international glided inside from the left before curling an exquisite effort beyond rooted keeper Mike Maignan.

It was no more than Celtic deserved – and five minutes later the on-loan Southampton star found the net again.

Jeremie Frimpong drilled a low cross into the box and Elyounoussi kept his composure to finish first-time into the far corner.

As half-time neared, Lille were handed a controversial penalty after a clumsy tackle from Duffy on David, which appeared to be outside the box.

Scott Bain was the penalty hero for the Hoops

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Scott Bain was the penalty hero for the HoopsCredit: AP:Associated Press
Celtic were 2-0 up at half-time and looking on course for the win

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Celtic were 2-0 up at half-time and looking on course for the winCredit: AFP
Albian Ajeti missed a series of chances for the Scottish champions

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Albian Ajeti missed a series of chances for the Scottish championsCredit: AFP or licensors

Canadian hitman David stepped up hoping to break his goal duck, but his strike down the middle was blocked by the feet of Bain.

It was a huge relief for Irish stopper Duffy, who has looked out of sorts in a green and white jersey.

Bain could have went from hero to zero moments later though after spilling a Lille free-kick.

The ball fell to Sven Botman but the Dutch defender crashed his shot off the crossbar in a huge slice of luck for Bain.

Celtic would have been relieved to have heard the half-time whistle as they went into the break with a two goal advantage.

However, they suffered a setback early in the second-half after Kris Ajer was forced off injured.

Kris Ajer was forced off injured early in the second-half

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Kris Ajer was forced off injured early in the second-halfCredit: Reuters
Lille fought back from two goals down to claim a point

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Lille fought back from two goals down to claim a pointCredit: AP:Associated Press

The centre-back looked in real discomfort as he clutched his groin and was replaced by versatile Israeli Nir Bitton on 53 minutes.

Celtic had to cope with an onslaught as Lille piled on the pressure.

Lennon’s side were pinned inside their own half for large spells as they struggled to get a grip of the game.

Lille threw on star duo Yilmaz and Sanches as they chased a crucial goal, with penalty sinner David making way.

Odsonne Edouard replaced Ajeti as the French hitman made his comeback from Covid-19.

Lille celebrate after clawing back from two behind

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Lille celebrate after clawing back from two behindCredit: Icon Sport – Getty

But Celts soon caved in to Lille’s relentless pressure through Zeki Celik.

Christie lost the Turkish right-back at the back post as he stabbed the ball home from a corner on the 67th minute to reduce the deficit.

Celtic were hanging on by a thread and looked vulnerable following the loss of Ajer.

An equaliser was always coming – and it arrived through Jonathan Ikone.

The French forward scrambled the ball home following a stramash in the box as his strike deflected off Duffy and past Bain to get back on level terms.

It was backs against the wall for Celtic and a defeat would have been so cruel given their gallant efforts.

There were a couple of nervy moments as the clock ticked down.

But Lennon’s energy-sapped team eventually managed to see the game through to earn a valuable point against unbeaten Lille.

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Former Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew takes a starring role in Olivia Meets Her Match

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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Anthony Joshua could give up WBO belt as he eyes Tyson Fury showdown with mandatory Oleksandr Usyk impatient for shot

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ANTHONY JOSHUA could drop his WBO belt to secure a Tyson Fury double and keep Oleksandr Usyk at arm’s length.

AJ, 31, holds the WBA, IBF and WBO belts, and hopes to snatch Fury’s WBC crown next year to become undisputed champion.

Triple belt-holder Anthony Joshua's overwhelming priority is to hold all the heavyweight crowns at the same time

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Triple belt-holder Anthony Joshua’s overwhelming priority is to hold all the heavyweight crowns at the same timeCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Tyson Fury is set for two all-British super-fights wth Anthony Joshua

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Tyson Fury is set for two all-British super-fights wth Anthony JoshuaCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

But Ukraine star Usyk is the WBO’s mandatory challenger and if he beats Derek Chisora tomorrow he insists he will not sit around waiting.

So Eddie Hearn, who promotes Joshua AND Usyk, has a plan — but it would mean only the first fight would be for all the titles.

He said: “I would be willing to say, subject to speaking to Anthony and Fury, that we would be willing to vacate the WBO title straight after their first fight, to let Usyk fight for it.

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“Because we’re going to do two fights, we’re tied up for 2021, so we can only fight Usyk if we don’t make the Fury fight.

“I only want AJ to win the undisputed title. I’m not bothered about him defending it for the next ten years.

“I just want to be able to say: ‘You’re the undisputed heavyweight world champion, you won everything’.

“After that, if we can set up a fight between Usyk and whoever’s No 2 with the WBO, we’ll do that.”

AJ won his WBA mandatory defence against Alexander Povetkin in 2018. His bout with Kubrat Pulev on December 12 has been ordered by the IBF, so the WBO and Usyk are next in line.

And Hearn admits the undisputed cruiserweight king and the WBO will  take some convincing to step aside.

Oleksandr Usyk is the WBO’s mandatory challenger and if he beats Derek Chisora will want a shot at Anthony Joshua

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Oleksandr Usyk is the WBO’s mandatory challenger and if he beats Derek Chisora will want a shot at Anthony JoshuaCredit: ©Mark Robinson Ltd

He said: “Usyk and his team have got to do their job and push for it.

“I’ve got to do my job and be honest with everyone.

“I think everybody feels that even an undisputed fight may not trump that mandatory.

“The fact is the IBF are now first chronologically and then the WBO.

“So if Joshua beats Pulev and we make Fury against AJ, we would write to the WBO and say: ‘Do you want to do the fight with Tyson Fury against Anthony Joshua’ and they will either say: ‘Yes we’ll approve it’. Or, ‘no, Usyk is mandatory’.

“If it’s the latter, we go to Usyk and say: ‘Do you want to allow this fight’ and he says: ‘Yes but what are you going to give me?’ Or ‘no’. Then you deal with it from there.

“AJ wants to be undisputed. If we had to fight Fury with a belt missing, we’d do it. But the whole aim has always been the undisputed title.

“Once he wins it, I’m OK if we have to go into the second fight with one missing.”

David Haye says Derek Chisora is set to become WBO mandatory and fight Anthony Joshua if he beats Oleksandr Usyk

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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Arsenal 3-0 Dundalk LIVE RESULT: Pepe, Nketiah and Willock down brave Irish champs in Europa League

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arsenal 3 0 dundalk live result pepe nketiah and willock down brave irish champs in europa league
BLOG Arsenal v Dundalk 3 0

ARSENAL downed Dundalk with three goals in the space of four minutes.

The Irish side impressed at the Emirates, restricting the Gunners to very few chances until Eddie Nketiah took advantage of a goalkeeping error to open the scoring after 42 minutes.

Joe Willock then added the second two minutes later before Nicolas Pepe rounded off the win a minute after the half time break.

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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