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'Frustrated' South African sides may resort to Plan B to endure URC shut out - report

By Rugby365
(Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Once again there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the game of rugby in South Africa, which could mean derby matches are on the cards again. South Africa’s four franchises in the United Rugby Championship (URC) were set to enjoy their first home games of the season this weekend. However, the emergence of a new variant of COVID-19 threw the tournament into disarray as South Africa was placed on the UK and EU travel red list.

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Munster, Zebre, Cardiff and Scarlets were the teams that were due to play matches in South Africa in Round Six and Seven.

Those teams are currently working hard to find a way to return home.

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According to Rapport newspaper, SA Rugby could implement an emergency plan which would see South Africa’s four franchises play each other.

It the plan comes into effect, the Rapport revealed that the Bulls will play the Sharks in Durban on Friday, while the Lions will face the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday. It would also count towards log points in the URC.

On Friday, URC organisers revealed that the original matches that were scheduled for Round Six and Seven in South Africa would be rescheduled for later this season.

According to the report, there was an offer to fly the travelling teams home after this weekend’s matches on a special charter flight, but it was turned down.

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The report also revealed that South Africa’s franchises were left frustrated after the decision to withdraw the travelling teams was done without consulting them.

“Due to the sudden developments connected with the new COVID-19 variant (B.1.1.529) that have immediately placed South Africa on the UK and EU travel red lists, the scheduled Round 6 and 7 United Rugby Championship fixtures set to take place in South Africa over the next two weekends have been postponed and will be rescheduled later this season,” said a URC statement on Friday. “The safety and well-being of our participating clubs’ players, coaches and 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.”

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