THE entire Scotland squad, including management, are to self-isolate for a week in response to the Covid-19 outbreak which has affected the camp.

The aim at present is for everyone to reconvene next week and continue with preparations for the internationals against Romania and Georgia, although that will depend on them having negative Covid tests.

One player tested positive and another eight were identified as close contacts last Friday, leading to the squad postponing their journey to Leicester for the planned ‘A’ international against England. Then on Sunday morning another three positive tests brought about the cancellation of the match, which had been due to take place that afternoon and now will not be rescheduled. 

Interim head coach Mike Blair named 37 players in his original squad for the three matches, and added five more after the initial group of nine were ruled out of the England ‘A’ game. As the initial plan was to retain only around 29 or 30 players for the journey to Romania and then on to Georgia, Blair will still have enough players to work with even if not everyone is passed fit to travel

But the loss of the match at Welford Road has deprived the squad of what would have been valuable match practice before the two summer Tests, and opting for mass self-isolation will further affect their preparation for those games.

The match against Romania is due to take place on Saturday 10 July and the game against Georgia is scheduled for Saturday 17. Both venues and kick-off times are currently listed as “tbc” on Scottish Rugby’s website.

The decision that everyone in the squad should self-isolate was announced yesterday in a short statement from Murrayfield. It read: “The Scotland men’s squad and management team will take a break from training camp to self-isolate following consultation with Scottish Government medical advisors. The playing group and management team will return to training next week pending a full round of negative PCR test results.

“Interim head coach Mike Blair said: ‘Having worked closely with [Scotland team doctor] Dr James Robson,  Scottish Government medical advisors, and our medical team at Scottish Rugby over the last 24 hours, we’ve made the decision to take a break from training camp, during which period all players and management will self-isolate regardless of whether they’ve been deemed a close contact of positive cases. It’s obviously been a difficult few days, however, the health and wellbeing of our squad and management is the number one priority, and that remains paramount in our decision-making process.’

“Scottish Rugby continues to operate an extensive health and safety coronavirus mitigation plan and follow all respective health guidance aligned through Scottish Rugby's Threat Management Group.”