Castleford have been awarded a 24-0 Betfred Super League victory over Huddersfield after the Giants revealed they had become the latest club to fall victim to the surge in coronavirus cases.
The Tigers forfeited their last match, against St Helens last Wednesday, after being unable to raise a team and Huddersfield announced on Sunday night that one of their players returned a positive lateral flow Covid-19 test.
Another Huddersfield player is showing symptoms and awaiting the result of a PCR test while track and trace regulations have deprived them of two more personnel ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled fixture against the Challenge Cup finalists.
Under the Rugby Football League’s protocols, a team can apply to postpone a match if seven or more senior players are unavailable as a result of coronavirus – either through positive tests or as close contacts.
“Castleford Tigers have been awarded a 24-0 win from their Betfred Super League fixture against Huddersfield Giants which was scheduled for July 6 after the Giants were unable to field a 17-man squad,” the RFL said in a statement.
“The Giants advised on Sunday that they would be withdrawing from the fixture.
“The total of four players in the top 25 paid players unavailable for Covid-19 reasons would not meet the threshold for postponement of a fixture under the Covid-19 framework, which stipulates a minimum of seven players.
“As with Castleford’s withdrawal from their scheduled fixture which was awarded 24-0 to St Helens, this failure by Huddersfield to fulfil a fixture will be referred to the RFL’s compliance department as off-field misconduct.”
Huddersfield said on Sunday nearly 20 players from Ian Watson’s Super League squad will be unavailable for varying reasons. The contest is the 10th Super League game to be called off so far this year because of coronavirus.
Giants managing director Richard Thewlis said on Sunday: “Everyone knows how tough we are doing it injury-wise at the moment and this morning’s positive result and subsequent track and trace was a hammer blow to us all.
“It has now become simply impossible to field 17 players safely on Tuesday to face the Tigers. This is not a decision taken lightly.”
The decision leaves Castleford just one more game – at home to Salford next Sunday – before they take on St Helens in the cup final at Wembley on Saturday, July 17.