Exeter have been awarded a 28-0 Premiership Rugby Cup third-round win after opponents Bath were unable to field a team due to coronavirus and injuries.

The sides were scheduled to meet at the Recreation Ground on Wednesday, December 29, but with the Somerset club’s squad depleted, they did not have enough front-row forwards to start the game.

A Premiership Rugby spokesperson said on Monday afternoon: “As the tournament organiser, Premiership Rugby has to rule on all match cancellations. We must determine if the match cancellation is as a result of Covid-19 or due to other factors.

“This match was cancelled due to the combination of positive cases, injuries and unavailabilities leaving Bath Rugby unable to fulfil its fixture obligations under the Premiership Rugby Cup regulations because the club had insufficient front-row forwards.

“Therefore the match is awarded to Exeter Chiefs 28-0, with the Chiefs receiving five match points.”

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The game was called off last Monday, at which point Bath were hopeful of being able to field a team for their Gallagher Premiership trip to London Irish on January 3.

The club said at the time: “We have worked hard to find a solution, including sourcing additional players; however, a combination of Covid-related player absences and existing injuries means an insufficient number of front-row forwards are available to fulfil a matchday 23.

“Furthermore, there is not enough time to add any further players to our squad who we can be confident are Covid-free, and with a Gallagher Premiership fixture scheduled within the next seven days, the safety of our wider squad and staff must be paramount.”

The London Irish fixture was also subsequently postponed following further positive Covid-19 tests within the Bath camp.

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