MUNSTER RUGBY have announced today that due to the emergence of the new COVID-19 variant (B.1.1.529) that has 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 organisers of the event have said health and safety comes first with Munster having to reschedule the calendar.
📰 URC confirm the postponement of our fixtures against the Vodacom Bulls & the Emirates Lions.
We are in the process of getting the touring party back to Ireland.
The squad returned negative PCR test results in the latest routine testing.#MunsterInSA🇿🇦 #SUAF 🔴
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) November 26, 2021
The statement read,
"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.
"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 Munster Rugby have confirmed that they 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 Round 6."
Scrum-half Craig Casey arrived in Pretoria earlier this morning before any announcement, and will now join the squad as they look to make their way back to Ireland as soon as possible.