Saracens have been forced to forfeit their EPCR Challenge Cup fixture against Section Paloise due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the squad. 

The Men in Black are unable to field a 23-man squad for the game with several players testing positive for coronavirus and further members of the team being registered as close contacts following the latest round of PCR testing on Monday. 

On top of that, Saracens are already without a number of players due to injury including England internationals Owen Farrell and Jamie George. 

In a statement, the former Champions Cup winners said: “The need to forfeit the fixture will result in a 28-0 loss to Pau, and five match points to Pau as set out in the EPCR tournament rules.  

“This is extremely disappointing for everyone at the club but as always the health and wellbeing of our people is our priority at this time.” 

The forfeiture means Saracens have registered defeats in their opening two Challenge Cup games having lost 21-18 to Edinburgh at the StoneX Stadium last Saturday. 

The five-time Premiership champions were denied the win at the death, with the TMO unable to award Saracens a try, instead handing the visitors a penalty. 

The club have closed the training ground with immediate effect with all players, coaches and support staff now isolating. 

However, the Men in Black are still hoping to spread some Christmas cheer with their Premiership match against Worcester Warriors set to go ahead on 26th December. 

The squad will make their return to full training just two days prior to the game after completing their isolation.