The Japan Rugby Football Union has decided to delay the start of the 2021 Japanese Top League season due to a Covid-19 outbreak among players and staff.
The first stage of Japan’s top-tier domestic competition was scheduled to start with five games on Saturday and three on Sunday, but the JRFU had to cancel two of the games earlier in the week after 44 people from three teams tested positive for the virus.
On Tuesday, the JFRU said 24 players and staff at Canon Eagles, 13 from Toyota Verblitz, and seven from Suntory Sungoliath tested positive in pre-season screening without revealing any identities. Toshiba Brave Lupus and Kobe Kobelco Steelers have also confirmed positive Covid-19 cases.
The outbreak resulted in the cancellation of the match between Suntory and Verblitz scheduled for Saturday and the game between the Eagles and Black Rams, which was to be played on Sunday.
The JRFU is scheduled to hold a media conference later on Thursday regarding the new dates for the campaign start.
Photo: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images