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Green light for Leinster

Relief as Covid-19 tests all come back negative

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Ulster’s Ian Madigan will be lining out against his former teammates at Leinster

Ulster’s Ian Madigan will be lining out against his former teammates at Leinster

SPORTSFILE

Ulster’s Ian Madigan will be lining out against his former teammates at Leinster

Leinster's clash with Ulster can go ahead as scheduled after 155 Covid-19 tests conducted at both provinces came back negative.

The news will come as a massive relief to the IRFU and organisers of the Guinness PRO14 after a cluster of eight cases was identified in the northern province's academy this week.

Having suspended training as a result, Dan McFarland was able to conduct a training session with the senior team at the Kingspan Stadium yesterday and they will field a team despite the disrupted preparation.

According to the IRFU, all individuals identified as potential close contacts of the group of eight academy players are self-isolating and that number includes one member of the senior squad who received a negative test but will continue to stay away in line with public health advice.

All academy training is suspended and Ulster are following the local advice.

The outbreak at Ulster followed a positive test at Munster a week before the season resumed last weekend.

IRFU medical director Dr Rod McLaughlin said both instances show the systems in place, which have seen 1,000 tests conducted with nine positives, are working.

"We have now had two occurrences of Covid and while the primary focus and concern will always be player health, it is good to see that the systems and protocols that have been put in place are working.

"We will now use these experiences to refine our systems and protocols as we continue to operate in this new environment."

The IRFU says results from Munster's tests were due last night, with Connacht set to come back today.

Those teams play on Sunday, with Leinster and Ulster meeting tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, Pat Lam has recruited two of his former players as short-term injury cover at title-chasing English club Bristol Bears.

Ireland international winger Niyi Adeolokun and ex-Munster prop Peter McCabe will link up with Lam and his star-studded squad for the remainder of the 2019/20 season.

Adeolokun and McCabe were two of the 12 players who left the province at the end of last season.

The Nigerian-born Dubliner's departure was a surprise given his contribution over his six years at the province, playing a big role in their 2016 league win.