PONTYPOOL’s return to action in the WRU National Championship has been delayed because of coronavirus.

Pooler were scheduled to play their first game of 2022 at Cardiff Met on Saturday, a fixture that would have had to be played behind closed doors.

However, it is Covid rather than the absence of supporters that has led to the fixture being pushed back to later in the campaign.

“The decision to postpone the fixture has been mutually agreed after several squad members within both clubs have reported positive COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours,” read a Pontypool statement.

It has been a frustrating start to the campaign for Leighton Jones’ men, who have played just three fixtures to leaders Bargoed’s five.

Pooler have enjoyed thumping wins over Maesteg Quins and Tata Steel either side of a loss at Neath but haven’t played since December 4. Their trips to Beddau and Ystalyfera were postponed because of outbreaks in their hosts’ camps.

“The one good thing to come out of it from a squad point of view is that we have had quite a big injury list and instead of having a two-week break we’ve had a four-week one,” said captain Scott Matthews before the Cardiff Met postponement.

The defending champions are scheduled to return to action when they host Glamorgan Wanderers on January 22, although Premiership clubs have opted to postpone fixtures due to the financial implications of playing behind closed doors. The Welsh government has not issue an end date on restrictions.

Flanker Matthews will be looking for his side to pick up where they left off when they get back out on the field.

“We played some fantastic rugby against Tata,” said Matthews “For me it was about encouraging the attitude of the boys.

“You could see some of them were really hurting and as captain it was about encouraging the attitude of the boys in training and you could see that want and desire to put things right was there.

“One of the pleasing things to come out of the first three games has been our defence.

“Yes, we lost at Neath but we didn’t concede any tries and we haven’t conceded a try in three games, which is a massive positive.”

There are five Championship fixtures on Saturday as things stand with leaders Bargoed travelling to Maesteg Quins.

Cross Keys face Neath at the Gnoll while Bedwas also head west to Tata Steel.

Beddau host Trebanos and Narberth visit Glamorgan Wanderers.