The United Rugby Championship have confirmed that the next two rounds of games set to be played in South Africa have been postponed.
The four South African sides – the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions – were all set to play at home for the first time this weekend, having each played their first four matches in Europe.
They will have to wait a while longer before playing on home turf however, after the URC announced that the next two rounds of games set to take place on South African soil have been postponed, due to the emergence of a new strain of covid-19.
The URC released a statement, saying that the games will be rescheduled at a later date.
The URC confirm the postponement of South African-based games.
“Due to the sudden developments connected with the new covid-19 variant (B.1.1.529) that have immediately placed South Africa on the UK and EU travel red lists, the scheduled Round 6 and 7 United Rugby Championship fixtures set to take place in South Africa over the next two weekends have been postponed and will be rescheduled later this season,” the statement reads.
“The safety and well-being of our participating clubs’ players, coaches and support staff and match officials is the foremost priority and the URC is currently working with the four visiting clubs – Cardiff Rugby, Munster Rugby, Scarlets and Zebre Parma – to facilitate their return as soon as possible.
“This decision is based upon the latest guidance against non-essential travel to and from South Africa, the ban on direct flights to the UK and other home destinations and the potential hotel quarantines enforced upon those returning from South Africa.
“As has been the operating practice throughout the pandemic, the URC will continue engaging with our Medical Advisory Group, our union shareholders and respective governments to plan according to the latest health guidelines.”
? R6 & R7 South African home games postponed ?
Full statement ? #URC
— United Rugby Championship (URC) (@URCOfficial) November 26, 2021
Munster, Zerbe, Cardiff and Scarlets will travel home ASAP.
Munster, Zebre, Cardiff and Scarlets all currently have squads out in South Africa and will look to travel home, having not played any rugby while on tour.
The two Welsh clubs announced last night that they would attempt to return to the UK as soon as possible, before the URC officially postponed the fixtures.
The UK government has placed South Africa on its red list for travel, which means that flights to the country are temporarily banned and that UK travellers must quarantine on their return home.