CASTLEFORD have been forced to forfeit Wednesday’s home Super League clash with St Helens, who have been awarded a 24-0 win.
The Tigers were unable to name a 17-man squad due to injuries and younger players with first-team experience being unavailable due to Covid issues.
The sides are set to meet in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley on Saturday, July 17.
The RFL said “an unusual range of circumstances” had impacted on Castleford but that the threshold for a Covid postponement – seven senior players unavailable as a direct result of positive tests or as close contacts – had not been met.
The club’s Academy squad have also been advised to isolate as a result of two further positive cases.
Castleford, who fielded a weakened side against Catalans on Thursday, confirmed captain Michael Shenton suffered a knee injury in the 16-6 defeat.
And Paul McShane, Peter Mata’utia and Suaia Matagi all picked up knocks in the England versus Combined Nations All Stars game on Friday.
A statement on the club website revealed only 14 first-team players were available for selection against Saints.
“Due to injuries and following a young player within the first-team environment testing positive for Covid-19, seven other players have had to be stood down due to contact tracing protocols,” the club added.
The fixture is the seventh to fall victim to the pandemic in Super League in 2021, but the first to be cancelled. Defending champions Saints have been involved in two of the previous six.
As in 2020, league positions will be determined by win percentage, and a club must play at least 18 matches to qualify for the top-six play-offs.
Castleford are due to visit Huddersfield bet Tuesday, July 6, while Saints host Wigan on Sunday (July 4).