Munster are heading back to South Africa next month. Dan Sheridan/INPHO
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Dates confirmed for Munster's rearranged URC fixtures in South Africa next month

The province will play the Bulls and the Lions on 12 and 19 March.

THE UNITED RUGBY Championship have confirmed the rescheduled dates for the postponed round six and seven fixtures which had been due to take place in South Africa before Christmas.

Munster, Cardiff, Scarlets and Zebre Parma were all due to play URC fixtures in South Africa across November and December but ended up stuck in the country due to the rapid rise of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The episode caused serious disruption for the four sides, who ended up returning from South Africa without playing a single fixture between them.

Munster initially managed to fly 34 players and staff home while 14 members of their touring party stayed back in a designated quarantine hotel in Cape Town after testing positive for the virus.

The URC had quickly postponed the originally planned fixtures, and have now confirmed new dates for those ties, with the four affected teams all set to travel back to South Africa across the weekends of 11 and 18 March.

Munster will play the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday, 12 March at 2.05pm Irish time.

The following weekend the province are in Johannesburg to take on the Emirates Lions, with a 12pm kick-off on Saturday 19 March.

The rearranged games coincide with the final two weekends of the Six Nations, with Munster’s fixtures falling on the same days as Ireland’s Six Nations ties with England [12 March, 4.45pm] and Scotland [19 March, 4.45pm].

The URC says the decision to move ahead with the new dates is based on ‘the level of travel restrictions from the UK, Ireland and Italy to South Africa having been eased for some time and it has been noted that SA Rugby and their franchises have been operating URC and Currie Cup fixtures with no disruption so far in 2022.’

URC CEO Martin Anayi added: “Having been on the ground alongside other members of the URC management team in December when these games were postponed, we were fully aware of the circumstances that isolation presented.

“Player welfare remains paramount to rugby’s success and after much internal consultation we believe that our clubs and players are confident that contingencies now exist that – no matter how unlikely to be needed – can expedite any future process.”

Rescheduled Fixtures for R6 & R7

Round 6

Friday, 11 March

Cell C Sharks v Scarlets, KO 5.10pm (UK) / 7.10pm (SA)

Live on Premier Sports,

Saturday, 12 March

Vodacom Bulls v Munster, KO 2.05pm (UK) / 4.05pm (SA)

Live on TG4, Premier Sports,

Sunday, 13 March

Emirates Lions v Cardiff Rugby, KO 2pm (UK) / 4pm (SA)

Live on Premier Sports,

DHL Stormers v Zebre Parma, KO TBC

Premier Sports,

Round 7

Friday, 18 March

Vodacom Bulls v Scarlets, KO 5.10pm (UK) / 7.10pm (SA)

Live on Premier Sports,

Saturday, 19 March

Emirates Lions v Munster, KO 12.00pm (UK) / 2pm (SA)

Live on RTÉ, Premier Sports,

Cell C Sharks v Zebre Parma, KO 4.30pm (UK) / 6.30pm (SA)

Live on Premier Sports,

Sunday, 20 March

DHL Stormers v Cardiff Rugby, KO 12pm (UK) / 2pm (SA)

Live on Premier Sports, 

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