URC postpones upcoming matches in SA over new COVID variant

The URC confirmed the matches would be rearranged for a later date, however, due to player welfare and as a result of South Africa being added to the travel red list of both the UK and EU, matches for the next two weeks would not take place.

The Stormers during training at the DHL Stadium on 10 November 2021. Picture: @THESTORMERS/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Organisers of the United Rugby Championship (URC) on Friday announced the decision to postpone both the sixth and seventh round of matches to take place in South Africa due to the discovery and spread of a new covid-19 variant.

The URC confirmed the matches would be rearranged for a later date, however, due to player welfare and as a result of South Africa being added to the travel red list of both the UK and EU, matches for the next two weeks would not take place.

The statement read: “The safety and well-being of our participating clubs' players, coaches, support staff and match officials is the foremost priority, and the URC is currently working with the four visiting clubs – Cardiff Rugby, Munster Rugby, Scarlets and Zebre Parma – to facilitate their return as soon as possible.”

It added that: “A period of assessment will now be required to better understand the impact of these new travel restrictions and how to reschedule these games within the current season. Given the nature and speed of these developments, URC will provide further updates at the appropriate time through official channels only.”

URC organisers clarified that they are engaging with their medical advisors throughout the pandemic.

On Thursday, the Department of Health confirmed the detection of a new variant called B.1.1529 in South Africa.