Wasps cleared to play in Premiership Rugby final

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Wasps will play Exeter in the English Premiership rugby union final after they were given a coronavirus all-clear, organisers announced on Wednesday.

Their place in English domestic rugby's showpiece at Twickenham on Saturday had been in doubt after 11 positive tests, including players and backroom staff, since last week. Wasps had also suspended training.

However, Premiership Rugby gave them the all clear on Wednesday which means they - rather than Bristol Bears, the team they beat in the semi-final play-offs - will face newly-crowned European champions Exeter.

The decision was taken by the Rugby Football Union, Premiership Rugby and Public Health England officials.

"Premiership Rugby can confirm that Wasps have been given the all-clear to take their rightful place in Saturday's Gallagher Premiership rugby final against Exeter Chiefs," said a statement.

Wasps last appeared in the Premiership final in 2017, losing to Exeter in extra-time.

Their chances of avenging that result won't have been helped by the disruption to their preparations.

But Wasps chief executive Stephen Vaughan was just happy the club can keep playing after head coach Lee Blackett engineered a stunning mid-season revival following the departure of the long-serving Dai Young.

"As a club, we are delighted that we can now take our rightful place in this Saturday's Premiership Rugby final," Vaughan said in a statement.

"To all of our fans and well-wishers, thank you for your many messages of support, this final is for you!"

'Deserved finalists'

Wasps revealed on Wednesday that a test from a member of their coaching staff on Saturday which produced a negative test result had in fact been damaged in transit.

They added the staff member would work socially distanced from colleagues until the result was confirmed.

"The club's Covid-19 contact tracing, measures and protocols, which remain rigorous, will continue to be adhered to," Wasps said in a statement regarding the players' return to training.

Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter added Chiefs players and staff were all clear of the virus.

"We were completely negative right across the board," Baxter said.

"It was great to have a message from Lee (Blackett) this morning to say their testing had gone well. Now, we can get on with things.

"Wasps are a form team. They have got numerous good players and threats. We are enjoying how we are playing as well."

Meanwhile Bristol took the news they would not be involved in the final in good part, knowing they can now celebrate their European Challenge Cup trophy win last Friday.

"We absolutely believe that Wasps and Exeter should be contesting this final," said Bristol rugby director Pat Lam. "They thoroughly deserve it."

Earlier this month, Sale missed qualifying for the play-offs after their final regular-season match, against Worcester, was called off after a clutch of the northwest club's players tested positive for the virus.

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