Leeds director of rugby Kevin Sinfield has defended the club’s decision to call off their Super League match against Catalans on Saturday.
The Rhinos were due to fly to Barcelona on Friday morning to face the Dragons behind closed doors at the Stade Gilbert Brutus having previously refused to cancel or move the game.
But an unnamed Leeds player has been showing symptoms of the virus and, until the club get the results of his private test, Sinfield says they could not take the risk of catching the scheduled flight.
Sinfield said: ”The player in question was sent home from training on Tuesday with some antibiotics and, although he improved a little bit on Wednesday morning, he had a really bad night and had full symptoms.
“He’s in self-isolation and his family are also isolated and have been sent home from work.
“If the game had been anywhere in the UK, we would have been playing tomorrow night.
“We wouldn’t have had any issues whatsoever because the guidelines were still that you should carry on.
“The difficulty came yesterday when overseas trips for schoolchildren got banned. That was the big game-changer for us.
“We couldn’t send a scholarship team to France but we could send our first team!”
The RFL caused a stir with their brief statement on Friday morning, that warned of potential sanctions of Leeds pulling out of the game.
Sinfield added: “We consulted with the RFL all the way through from quarter to 10 yesterday morning through to just after midnight.
“I absolutely stand by the club’s decision. It was the right one we made in some unprecedented times when other sports are cancelling fixtures. They are isolating players and closing training grounds down.”
All other Super League games are still going ahead, despite many other sports suspending their seasons.
Castleford’s game against St Helens on Sunday will now be broadcast live on Sky Sports, who have seen their schedule virtually wiped out by the cancellation of amongst other things, Premier League and EFL football and Formula One’s Australian Grand Prix.