Munster, Cardiff stay in SA after positive Covid tests, one case 'suspected' to be Omicron variant

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Munster coach Johann van Graan.
Munster coach Johann van Graan.
Henry Browne/Getty Images

Munster and Cardiff rugby teams have been forced to delay their return home from South Africa after members of their squads tested positive for coronavirus.

The two sides had travelled to South Africa to play matches in the United Rugby Championship but all four games were postponed after South African authorities reported the discovery of the new Omicron variant of the virus.

The teams had been hoping to fly out of Cape Town on Sunday but a final round of PCR testing produced several positive tests, including one case in the Cardiff ranks that is suspected to be the Omicron variant.

Munster said: "This morning Munster Rugby were making plans to join their fellow URC sides in departing Cape Town for Dublin by charter.

"After arriving at their hotel in Cape Town late last night the squad underwent a round of PCR testing ahead of today's possible departure. The returning results have identified one positive case."

The statement from the Irish province added that the team would not travel on Sunday "and will return to their hotel for an isolation period as a matter of priority".

The four round-six fixtures - Scarlets v Sharks, Cardiff v Lions, Munster v Bulls and Stormers v Zebre Parma - were called off.

Cardiff said they have been unable to depart following two positive cases, one of which is suspected to be the new variant.

The Welsh club said in a statement: "As a consequence of one of these results suspected of being Omicron, the entire travelling party have returned to their hotel to isolate.

"Cardiff Rugby continue to work with the South African Rugby Union, the Welsh Rugby Union and public health authorities both at home and abroad to decide the next course of action."

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