Cardiff and the Scarlets scramble to leave South Africa before deadline following UK's red-list announcement

South Africa is one of six countries being added to the UK Government's red list
South Africa is one of six countries being added to the UK Government's red list

As a big blow to the chances of South Africa hosting the United Rugby Championship matches, Cardiff and Scarlets are trying to return back to Wales as the country was added to the UK Government’s travel red list.

Scarlets were set to face Sharks on Saturday while Cardiff was locking horns with Lions on Sunday in the upcoming round of the competition but the fixtures have been postponed along with Munster's game against the Bulls and Zebre's match against Stormers.

The decision was taken due to the rise in the B.1.1.529 Covid-19 variant following which the UK government announced that South Africa will be on the red list.

This means anyone arriving in UK from South Africa after 4 am on Sunday will have to undergo 10 day hotel quarantine period which would affect their preparations for the European competitions.

"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," read a URC statement.

"The safety and well-being of our participating clubs' players, coaches, support staff an 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."