SCARLETS have been denied the chance to play RC Toulon and Bath this month after Heineken Champions Cup chiefs announced that the tournament is temporarily suspended.

The regional club were due to travel to the south of France for today’s (Friday) round three fixture, followed by a home match against Bath on January 23 to complete the pool stages.

But the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have been temporarily suspended, after the French government decreed its clubs should not play in the competitions this month.

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) has postponed all matches scheduled for the weekends of January 16 and 23, but still aims to finish the tournaments "as soon as practicable".

EPCR said in a statement: "Against the backdrop of the recent detection of a new strain of coronavirus, the French government has directed that French clubs postpone their participation in EPCR's tournaments for the month of January, both for matches scheduled in France and for those due to be played in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

"On the basis of this directive, EPCR had no choice but to temporarily suspend the pool stage of the Heineken Champions Cup and the preliminary stage of the Challenge Cup.

"While respecting all further directives by governments and local authorities, and prioritising the health and welfare of players and club staff, EPCR, in conjunction with its shareholder leagues and unions, remains committed to trying to find a solution which will enable it to resume and complete the tournaments as soon as practicable."

In December, Toulon had pulled out of their Champions match with the Scarlets on safety grounds, while Bayonne have also threatened to withdraw from the Challenge Cup.