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 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.
URC noted the safety and well-being of participating teams’ players, coaches and support staff and match officials is the foremost priority, and that they are currently working with the four visiting sides – Cardiff Rugby, Munster Rugby, the 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 the Medical Advisory Group, union shareholders and respective governments to plan according to the latest health guidelines.
A period of assessment will now be required to better understand the impact of these new travel restrictions and how to reschedule these games within the current season.
Given the nature and speed of these developments URC will provide further updates at the appropriate time through official channels only.
Following on from the latest update from URC, Munster Rugby are in the process of getting the touring party back to Ireland as soon as possible.
Overall, the training week in Pretoria went well and the squad returned negative PCR test results in this week’s routine testing that had taken place ahead of the round 6 matches.
Ireland scrum half Craig Casey arrived in Pretoria earlier this morning before the postponement announcement. He has joined up with the Munster squad as they look to make their way home.