Bulls still awaiting Munster move on new Covid-19 variant after UK imposes travel restrictions
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Cape Town – The Bulls are waiting to see whether Munster will stay in Pretoria and fulfil their United Rugby Championship fixture at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
At the moment, IOL Sport understands that there is “no definite answer” yet to the Bulls from the Irish province about tomorrow night’s game, which is set to kickoff at 7.45pm, following the UK government’s decision to place South Africa and five neighbouring countries on their ‘red list’ following the outbreak of the new Covid-19 variant, labelled B.1.1.529 for the moment, in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong.
The British government’s decision means that any citizen needs to be back in the UK by Sunday 4am to avoid having to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel.
That has seen Welsh sides Cardiff and Scarlets attempt to get out of South Africa and back home before then – with the Scarlets scheduled to face the Sharks in Durban on Saturday (5.30pm kickoff), and Cardiff set to play against the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday (4pm).
“Following the news of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa, Scarlets would like to assure families and friends that we are making every effort to get our touring party back home to the UK as soon as possible. We will provide further updates as soon as we can,” the Scarlets posted on Twitter early on Friday.
Cardiff wrote on their Twitter account: “With the situation in South Africa having changed so quickly, we are now looking to repatriate our staff ASAP. For concerned families and friends, please rest assured that our focus is to ensure the safety and welfare of our people and will keep you updated with any developments.”
While Ireland’s government has not issued any travel ban to South Africa, the tricky part for Munster is that they are due to play in a European Champions Cup match against English club Wasps in Coventry on December 12.
If Munster do decide to remain in South Africa and play against the Bulls and then the Lions next Saturday, then they are unlikely to be allowed into the UK for the Wasps game – or would have to undergo a 10-day hotel quarantine first.
Munster tweeted on Friday: “We all are safe & well in Pretoria. We are working with URC on the ongoing situation relating to Covid-19 & will provide an update once we know more #MunsterInSA”
Bulls coach Jake White is set to address the media later on Friday, where he will announce the match-23 to take on Munster.