Bristol Bears are poised to finish top of the Premiership table after their fixture with London Irish on Saturday was cancelled because Irish have returned a number of positive Covid-19 tests.

A "significant number” of the Irish squad were ruled out of the match through the contact tracing process, according to Premiership Rugby.

Bristol meanwhile will get the opportunity to rest their front-line players heading into next week’s Premiership semi-finals, when the club will face Harlequins.

Based on previous outcomes from cancelled matches due to Covid-19 this season, Bristol should receive four points while Irish are in line to receive two points, with an announcement expected "in due course".

Four points would take Bristol to 85 points and secure first place in the Premiership table, given the club would be seven points clear of second-placed Exeter, a remarkable achievement just three years after Bristol were promoted back into the top flight under Pat Lam.

As for Irish, two points would be enough to nudge the club into the top eight and secure Champions Cup rugby next season, but only if Bath lose to Northampton Saints and fail to register a single point. Bath have a tiebreaker over Irish having won more matches this season (nine to six), so a losing bonus point or try bonus point would be enough for Bath to move back ahead of Irish in the standings should they finish level on points, with the Exiles currently one ahead.

A Premiership Rugby spokesperson said: "Our priority is the health and safety of everyone involved with London Irish and Bristol Bears and we will give the clubs any support they need. We wish everyone affected a full and speedy recovery."