Rob Baxter’s side have reported a number of positive coronavirus cases among their playing squad and staff members, meaning that they are unable to fill a matchday squad for Sunday’s trip to the Stade Ernest Wallon.
The match is not the only fixture to be cancelled this weekend as due to facing Exeter on Saturday, Glasgow Warriors are unable to fulfil their game with Lyon in round two. The Scottish club issued a statement to confirm that with 20 players self-isolating after close contact with the Exeter squad last weekend, they do not have enough senior players to field a squad against the Top 14 side.
In accordance with this season’s competition rules, both games will be cancelled and the result will be determined by an EPCR Match Result Resolution Committee, which will have a major impact on the outcome of Pool B where both sides are located.
A statement from European Professional Club Rugby read: “EPCR has been informed that a number of Exeter Chiefs players and staff have tested positive for Covid-19, and that in accordance with public health guidelines, the club will not be able to send a match day squad to fulfil its Heineken Champions Cup, Round 2 fixture against Toulouse at Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday (20 December). The Pool B match is therefore cancelled.
“As Exeter Chiefs played against Glasgow Warriors in Round 1 of the tournament, Glasgow Warriors have advised EPCR that many of its senior players are now self-isolating in accordance with public health guidelines, and consequently, the club is not in a position to field a match day squad of the appropriate standard for its Heineken Champions Cup, Round 2 fixture against Lyon at Scotstoun Stadium on Saturday (19 December). The Pool B match between Glasgow Warriors and Lyon is therefore also cancelled.
“As per its Covid-19 protocol, EPCR will convene Match Result Resolution Committees to determine the results of the cancelled matches and the decisions of the committees will be communicated as soon as practicable.”
Exeter’s director of rugby Baxter expressed his fears that a Covid-19 outbreak could decimate his squad given that they were hardly affected by the virus earlier this year, with the reigning English and European champions reporting very few positive cases since testing began.
Ahead of the Premiership final victory in October, Baxter said: "I'm terrified of it myself, I don't mind telling you. We've had hardly any of it in the camp. We are ticking along, and the boys have been fantastic.
"They've been locked down, but that can't go on forever. It's impossible. We are in an area where, sooner or later, unless a vaccine happens, it's going to get into the community at some stage.
"It isn't just going to go away, is it? Once it gets into the community, we could be one of the most affected clubs because we haven't had it.
"Everyone is going to be in a slightly different scenario. Am I worried about it? Yes. Is there a rule or regulation that can get us round it? I don't think there is."