10 days quarantine awaits SA squad Münster

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said players and staff in Münster will have to self-quarantine at home for 10 days upon arrival in Ireland from South Africa.

Monster’s clash with the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday, along with three other United Rugby League matches in South Africa this weekend, has been postponed due to the discovery A new type of Covid-19, Omicron, is in the country.

South Africa is one of six countries on the UK’s red list, which takes effect at 4am on Sunday, with anyone after that time arriving at a 10-day hotel quarantine.

The county says it is working to get the tour party back to Ireland as soon as possible, adding that the latest round of PCR testing has not returned any positive cases.

Now their European preparations have been affected in a big way, with Monster set to travel to Coventry to play the Wasps in the opening round of the Heineken Champions Cup on Sunday 12 December.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has confirmed that anyone returning to the country from seven South African countries regardless of vaccination, recovery or PCR test status will have to self-quarantine at home, and must undergo two PCR tests during that time.

Asked about the Monster case specifically, Minister Donnelly insisted that the measures apply «regardless of the situation».

The next weekend’s round of matches on home soil for the South African teams has also been postponed.

Monster was due to play the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday, while Monster will play in Johannesburg the following weekend. Both games are now suspended.

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In a statement on Twitter, the URC said: “Due to the sudden developments associated with the new Covid-19 variant (B.1.1.529) which has promptly placed South Africa on the UK and EU travel red lists, the scheduled Round 6 and 7 matches of the United Championship Rugby, scheduled to take place in South Africa over the next two weekends, has been postponed and will be rescheduled for later in the season.

«The safety and well-being of participating club players, coaches, support staff and match officials is the highest priority, and URC is currently working with the four visiting clubs – Cardiff Rugby, Monster Rugby, Scarletts and Zepri Parma – to facilitate their return as soon as possible.»

Sajid Javid, Britain’s health minister, said flights to England from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe would be suspended from midday on Friday and all six countries would be added to the red list.

The Scarletts, who were due to face the sharks, and Cardiff, who were ready to face the lions, plan to return to Wales at the earliest opportunity.

Cardiff said they «look forward to bringing our staff back as quickly as possible,» adding that «our focus is on ensuring the safety and well-being of our people.»

Scarlets said: «Following the news of a new type of COVID-19 in South Africa, Scarlets would like to assure families and friends that we are doing everything we can to bring our tour party back to the UK as soon as possible.»

Among them were Jonathan Caldwell, Paul Dunn, Niall Kearney, and Cormac Sharvin. 15 Irish and British players withdrew from the Joburg Open, the first event of the DP World Tour 2021/22.

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The International Criminal Court will decide today whether the qualifiers for the T20 Women’s World Cup 2022 in Zimbabwe should continue.

Ireland have already played two matches in the tournament and look likely to advance to the Super 6 stage scheduled for next week.

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