Donal Lenihan has described the “horrific” ordeal that Munster staff and players experienced after testing positive for Covid-19 in South Africa.
A group of 14 staff and players from Munster’s touring party were made to stay in Cape Town and isolate after testing positive for Covid-19, while the remainder of the group flew to Ireland to isolate at home.
The group left behind were in contact with medics on a daily basis while they isolated in a hotel in Cape Town, and thankfully they have all arrived home and finished a further period of isolation on their return to Ireland.
Former Munster and Ireland player Lenihan was speaking on RTE’s rugby podcast and explained that the players left behind in Cape Town were unable to leave their hotel rooms for the duration of their isolation.
Donal Lenihan on Munster’s ‘horrific’ time in South Africa.
“I met one of the Munster players who was one of the fourteen left behind in South Africa, I had a good chat with him on Saturday morning and he said it was absolutely horrific,” Lenihan explained.
“I thought they got out for a half an hour in the day. They didn’t even manage that, they had a balcony in their hotel rooms and they were able to get in and out but they never left their hotel rooms.
“They were given a static bike and they were cycling on that, the grub was left outside the door, there was communication from the medics all right, two or three times a day, but it was horrific.
“So why would they be rushing to go back there? We see how quickly the ground rules change in relation to Covid and they had a horrendous experience.
“So I fully understand Dai Young coming out and saying, ‘Lads, we’re going nowhere until, at the very least, we get absolute assurance that we [can go home]'”
‘It was absolutely horrific’ – Donal Lenihan heard from one of the Munster players who had to stay back in South Africa – this and more on the #RTERugby podcast https://t.co/CGiNxEf87D pic.twitter.com/yOLndQgdpq
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) December 24, 2021
URC tournament organisers could have a problem on their hands.
The games that were due to take place in South Africa in November and December have been rescheduled for two weekends in March, although tournament organisers are yet to confirm the location of these games.
Cardiff director of rugby Dai Young has expressed his side’ reluctance to travel back to South Africa after the last ordeal, as they were without the bulk of their squad for two Heineken Champions Cup encounters.
There are no games scheduled between European and South African sides in the URC until February 25th, although there is certainly no guarantee that travel restrictions won’t still be an issue by then.