This kind of confirms EU Regs too (Irish Examiner) -
THE weekendís United Rugby Championship matches in South Africa, including Munsterís match against the Bulls, are set to be postponed following a new Covid-19 outbreak.
Munster have found themselves in the provincial epicentre of a worrisome Covid-19 outbreak in South Africa, with the large majority of the 2,465 new Covid-19 reported in South Africa on Thursday having been detected in Gauteng.
Both Welsh teams who were in South Africa, the Scarlets and Cardiff, have already confirmed they are seeking routes out of the country as new travel bans continue to be enforced.
Itís believed that Munster - as well as Italian side Zebre - are also currently working on contingency plans of their own to make their exit from South Africa, with the country having already been placed on the EU and UKís travel red lists.
The World Health Organisation is currently convening an experts' meeting from Geneva at midday (11Ē00 GMT) on Friday to assess the new Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529 amid growing concerns that it could be the most serious ďsuper variantĒ to date.
The UK dramatically announced on Thursday night that travellers from South Africa, and neighbouring countries, would be barred from entering England, while Israel, Germany, Singapore, and Japan have since followed in those footsteps, imposing travel bans and flight restrictions on South Africa.
In terms of the impact on the United Rugby Championship, the dramatic turn of events has left teams scrambling to gain clarity on the situation, and to hastily organise flights out of South Africa as the need arises.
Munster were scheduled to play the Bulls on Saturday, but the Pretoria-based team postponed their team announcement press conference on Friday, as did the Sharks and Stormers.
Itís a sure sign of the uncertainty facing the tournament, and itís now expected to be only a matter of time before an official announcement is made confirming the two rounds of fixtures in South Africa will not go ahead as planned. They could apparently be rescheduled for a date during the Six Nations next year.
This weekend, Zebre were also scheduled to play the Stormers, Scarlets had been in line to face the Sharks, while Cardiff were in Johannesburg preparing to tackle the Lions on Sunday.
Munsterís match against the Bulls was set to be followed by a clash against the Lions next weekend, while they are due to play in a European Champions Cup match against Wasps in Coventry on December 12.
The only statement Munster have made on the matter up to this point is to say: "We all are safe and well in Pretoria. We are working with URC on the ongoing situation relating to Covid-19 & will provide an update once we know more."
Specifically in Gauteng, as of Thursday night, the 1,950 new cases represented the biggest single-day increase since 13 August, with 707 patients in hospital and 55 in ICU.
Ironically, the two rounds of matches in South Africa were originally due to be played in Italy due to Covid issues, but they were then switched back once the country was taken off the UK's travel red list in October.
This weekend was also set to represent the first time supporters were allowed back into South Africa's rugby stadiums for such a high-profile set of fixtures, albeit with crowd limitations of just 2,000 attendees.
In golf, four Irish golfers are among 16 players to have withdrawn from the Joburg Open, the opening event of the DP World Tour (rebranded from the European Tour). Jonathan Caldwell, Niall Kearney, Paul Dunne, and Cormac Sharvin are seeking to leave the country amid the new outbreak.