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NEWS: New Covid strain puts brakes on South Africa’s URC bow

Cardiff and Scarlets have indicated that they will be looking to get their players and staff back home as soon as possible following the discovery of the B1.1.529 Covid variant.

Rhys Priestland of Cardiff Rugby URC
Image COpyright - Steve Haag Sports

Cardiff and Scarlets have indicated that they will be looking to get their players and staff back home as soon as possible following the discovery of the B1.1.529 Covid variant.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Following the discovery of the new Covid variant B1.1.529, both Cardiff Rugby and Scarlets are looking to get their players and staff back home as soon as possible. The news comes after the UK government scrambles to get quarantine measures in place, with all UK residents required to quarantine in hotels from Monday upon return from South Africa and neighbouring countries.

While there hasn’t been anything in the way of announcements from Munster and Zebre yet, it seems likely that they will also look to get home soon, plunging the first South African leg of the tournament into doubt.

This is devastating news for South African rugby fans up and down the Republic who were looking forward to getting their first taste of URC action. Restrictions had eased in the lead-up to these fixtures, with 2000 spectators expected in stadiums around the country. 

The Sharks – and their string of returning Springboks – as well as the Lions will need to wait before making their home debuts in the tournament. There hasn’t been any news yet on the Stormers’ fixture against Zebre or the Bulls’ clash against Munster yet with announcements expected shortly. 

The situation also presents a logistical issue with the first South African leg of the tournament set to be put on the halted and there being very little time in a packed schedule to fit the games in. 

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