Castleford Tigers game against St Helens CANCELLED as Tigers are left with 14 fit players
Castleford Tigers say they are "devastated" after their Super League match with St Helens, scheduled for Wednesday, was cancelled.
As a result, Saints have been awarded a 24-0 win with the Tigers left with just 14 fit players for the contest.
A combination of a lengthy injury list and players being forced to self isolate after becoming close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19, means Castleford simply do not have enough players to raise a matchday squad.
Despite Super League admitting that an "unusual range of circumstances" had left Castleford severely depleted, the victory has been awarded to St Helens.
The situation brings into question the decision to force 25 rounds of fixtures on players who had already endured a congested fixture list at the end of the 2020 campaign.
Three of the Tigers' injured players took part in Friday's contest between England and the Combined Nations All Stars, leaving them with just five days to recover.
A club statement read: "Castleford Tigers are devastated that Wednesday night’s Betfred Super League match against St Helens has been cancelled. The club will be looking to publish further details regarding supporters’ tickets to this fixture in the coming days.
"The Tigers have just fourteen first team players available for selection for the fixture on Wednesday due to injuries and following a young player within the first team environment testing positive for Covid-19, which has resulted in seven of our young first team environment players and joint first team/academy players needing to be stood down due to contact tracing protocols.
"Castleford Tigers is confident that it can field a team for the Round 13 fixture of Betfred Super League 2021 against Huddersfield Giants on Tuesday, July 6. This is due to a number of players becoming available following treatment of smaller scale injuries, and more of the Tigers young players within the first team and academy environments returning from self-isolation periods and being ready for selection.
"The club unfortunately cannot call upon more of the Tigers academy for Wednesday night’s match against St Helens due to two academy players returning positive Covid-19 tests following a game last week, which has resulted in the Tigers academy setup being shut down for 10 days.
"All efforts were made by Castleford Tigers to try and get the Super League fixture played, but these unusual circumstances have resulted in its cancellation."
A Super League statement further explained: "The Betfred Super League fixture between Castleford Tigers and St Helens scheduled for Wednesday night (June 30) has been cancelled, because an unusual range of circumstances have left Castleford unable to field a 17-man squad for the match.
"In addition to a lengthy injury list among their senior squad, the Tigers have a number of young players with first team experience unavailable for selection as close contacts of a single Covid-19 positive – and separately, their Academy squad have all been advised to isolate as a result of two further positive tests.
"The match has been awarded to St Helens with a 24-0 victory because Castleford do not meet the threshold for a postponement under the Covid-19 framework of seven senior players unavailable as a direct result of positive tests or as close contacts."