The eagerly-anticipated East Midlands derby between Northampton and Leicester has been cancelled due to “a number of positive” coronavirus tests in the Saints camp.

The club’s training ground has also been closed, Premiership Rugby said in a statement.

“The health and safety of players, management, staff and match officials is our priority,” a Premiership Rugby spokesperson said.

Northampton did not play last week because London Irish had to forfeit the game after 16 members of their squad tested positive for coronavirus.

Premiership Rugby has confirmed it will publish additional Covid-19 protocols for the league around matchdays and training.

A spokesperson said it will make the Premiership “even more Covid safe” and details will be released in the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the players involved at Northampton have begun a 10-day isolation period.

“We are incredibly disappointed and frustrated that we are unable to proceed with such an important fixture for the club,” said Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd.

“However, we are following the advice we have been given, which was not to play the game and to close our training facility until next week. While this is a bitter pill to swallow, the health and safety of the players, staff and families of everyone at both Saints and Tigers is of course paramount.”

Under Premiership Rugby’s regulations, following the cancellation of Northampton Saints vs Leicester Tigers, a Premiership Rugby panel will now be convened to determine the allocation of points and a further announcement will be made in due course.

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