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Munster still in South Africa and facing 10-day quarantine on return home

Health minister Stephen Donnelly has said that new restrictions for people travelling to Ireland from several southern African countries would apply ‘regardless of status’.

Image: Gordon Arons/INPHO

MUNSTER ARE YET to leave South Africa and may have to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival back in Ireland, which would cast doubt over their upcoming Champions Cup opener versus Wasps in Coventry.

As was first reported by the Irish Examiner, the southern provinces’ players and staff remained in a hotel in South Africa on Friday night, restricting their movements as they await a flight out of the country amid concerns over the new ‘omicron’ Covid-19 variant.

Several United Rugby Championship franchises, including Munster, had hoped to fly home earlier on Friday but this didn’t prove possible.

Cardiff and Scarlets confirmed earlier today that, despite securing a charter flight back to the UK, they remained unable to travel home as they had not yet secured Civil Aviation Authority clearance due to the closure of borders in the UK and European Union.” The Welsh-capital club and their compatriots from Llanelli have confirmed that their squads and staff are safe and in good spirits at their respective quarters, while Italian side Zebre have also confirmed that they too remain in their hotel in Cape Town where they are “observing health and safety measures.”

Earlier on Friday, health minister Stephen Donnelly intimated that Munster’s 33-person travelling party would have to quarantine at home for 10 days upon their eventual arrival home from South Africa.

Minister Donnelly said that these restrictions would apply to anyone returning to Ireland from seven pertinent southern African countries regardless of vaccine, recovery or PCR-test status. Those affected would also have to take two PCR tests during their quarantine.

When asked would this apply to Munster, Minister Donnelly stated that the restrictions would apply “regardless of status,” although he declined to comment in any further detail about Munster specifically.

While Munster’s two scheduled fixtures in South Africa have naturally been cancelled by the URC, along with all other games due to be held in the country over the next two rounds, they are due to travel to England to face Wasps in Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on 12 December.


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Munster will not have played a competitive game in seven weeks by the time that Champions Cup opener rolls around. With 10 days of quarantine added to the equation, the fixture would realistically be in doubt.

The URC said earlier on Friday that it is working with the four travelling clubs currently in South Africa “to facilitate their return as soon as possible”.

Gavan Casey and Bernard Jackman are joined by Garry Doyle to peak at next year’s Six Nations through the lens of November just gone, look ahead to the weekend’s URC fixtures, and discuss potential replacements for Stephen Larkham at Munster:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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