Cardiff and Scarlets are both looking to get their touring squads back to the UK “as soon as possible” following the emergence of a new covid strain in South Africa.
The two Welsh sides are currently in South Africa, as Scarlets were due to play the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, while Cardiff were due to face the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Those games now look to have been effectively cancelled, after the UK placed six countries in southern Africa, including South Africa, on their red list for travel. Flights will be temporarily banned to each country and UK travellers must quarantine on their return home.
Both Cardiff and Scarlets released statements on Twitter to announce that they are attempting to get their touring parties back home as quickly as possible.
‘We are now looking to repatriate our staff ASAP.’
“With the situation in South Africa having changed so quickly, we are now looking to repatriate our staff as soon as possible,” Cardiff’s statement reads.
“For concerned families and friends, please rest assured that our focus is to ensure the safety and welfare of our people and will keep you updated with any developments.”
“Following the news of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa, Scarlets would like to assure families and friends that we are making every effort to get our touring party back home to the UK as soon as possible. We will provide further updates as soon as we can,” the Scarlets’ Twitter account confirmed.
With the situation in South Africa having changed so quickly, we are now looking to repatriate our staff ASAP. For concerned families and friends, please rest assured that our focus is to ensure the safety and welfare of our people and will keep you updated with any developments.
— Cardiff Rugby (@Cardiff_Rugby) November 25, 2021
Munster and Zebre are yet to make a statement.
Munster and Zebre are also due to play on South African soil tomorrow, with the Irish province recently announcing that they are “safe and well in Pretoria” and that they will provide an update in due course.
Neither the Irish or Italian governments have banned travel to and from South Africa as of yet, but Irish Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said that he is “deeply concerned” about the new variant.
Munster, Zebre, Cardiff and Scarlets were all due to play two matches each on South African soil, although it now looks as though none of those fixtures will be fulfilled over the next two weekends.
?We all are safe & well in Pretoria.
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) November 26, 2021