English clubs are set to shelve strike plans with the French government on the brink of climbing down over their Covid demands.

Bath, Newcastle and Sale were preparing to boycott this weekend’s round of Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup fixtures unless they were given an exemption from the 48-hour quarantine on arrival.

On Wednesday night, the French government were ready to waive the regulations, with clubs expected to fly out from Thursday morning.

English clubs like Bath (above) no longer need to quarantine after arriving in France 

Current rulings say sports teams must quarantine for 48 hours after arrival and PCR testing

Rugby’s European competitions have been left in chaos by Covid-19 cancellations in the opening two rounds, but Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson is now preparing for fixtures to go ahead.

No confirmation has yet come from European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR). Sale face ASM Clermont Auvergne on Sunday.

Sanderson said: ‘The message is we’re going and from my understanding, we don’t have to stay the 48 hours or PCR test which was the worry because people would probably have got trapped in France.

‘We had an email sent through to our doctor via our manager. I haven’t spoken to EPCR directly.

Stuart Hooper said his Bath side will stay in England unless the rules in France were changed

‘On the back of all the communication we’ve had this far, we are very positive that it’s going to happen. We have chartered a plane and sorted the hotel.

‘It might still need to be made official, but all the communication we’ve had suggests it’s happening. We’re flying Saturday and coming back Sunday.’

Sanderson is also hopeful Sale’s contingent of South African players will receive their Schengen visas in time to play in France.

‘The final hoop to jump through is the Schengen visas which we’re still waiting on, but we’re very confident they’ll come through and the game will go ahead,’ he added.

‘Usually, they take a few weeks to go through the consulate but now I’m well educated on this. The consulate is in London so you have to book a day off to travel to London and meet people.

Newcastle are set to join Bath and Sale in playing in France after the quarantine was scrapped

‘Through this process it has been pushed through in record time so, thanks to EPCR and the French consulate, we were able to meet someone in Manchester on Monday who approved the identification and it was sent down to London to get re-approved.

‘I assume it goes from there to someone higher up. It’s a lot of red tape. That’s where we’re at. We’re still waiting for them to come back but we’re confident we will get them back.

‘Some of the South African players have got Covid passes for South Africa but not over here, so we’re still trying to chase up a couple of them. It’s all admin and logistics, but everyone is keen to get it on.’

English rugby clubs’ boycott is OFF after France government scraps quarantine rules for sports teams

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