The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has commenced a programme of PCR testing of senior professional players and high performance staff from Leinster Rugby ahead of the planned return to UCD next week.

Munster Rugby staff and players will also be tested at their High Performance Centre in Limerick this week, with Connacht and Ulster to follow next week ahead of their scheduled return on the 29th June.

The PCR Testing is part of the return to train protocols put in place by the IRFU and involves a swab test removing a sample from a person’s nose or throat. This sample is examined at a molecular level using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to identify the presence of COVID-19.

The PCR Testing is being used by the League of Ireland, Premier League, English Football League, Bundesliga, La Liga, NZ Rugby and NRL and results are known within two to four days.

The nationally coordinated PCR testing programme is being carried out by Cork based company Advanced Medical Sciences and Leinster Rugby players, coaches and relevant support staff will undergo the swab test this week.

IRFU Medical Director Dr Rod McLoughlin, commented, “The PCR testing ahead of the return to the High Performance Centres is an important element of our Return to Training Protocols. All players, coaches and support staff will be tested before being permitted to enter their respective HPCs.

“They will also receive COVID-19 education from our medical staff as well as education on the new protocols that have been put in place at each HPC to create a controlled working environment that greatly limits the risk of infection.

“The IRFU is coordinating and overseeing the implementation of the COVID-19 protocols across our five designated High Performance Centres. We will be working closely with the HPC COVID Managers to support them in the roll-out of the protocols.”