Cardiff Rugby working on repatriation as Covid tests show cases in South Africa limited to two

Two of the Cardiff Rugby team in South Africa tested positive for Covid on Saturday, a day before they were supposed to fly home. Credit: Cardiff Rugby

Cardiff Rugby, currently stuck in South Africa due to two positive Covid cases, have confirmed the rest of the team have all returned negative PCR test results.

They were unable to leave the country on Sunday as planned after two of their team members tested positive for the virus on Saturday evening. One of those cases is suspected to be of the new Omicron variant.

Cardiff Rugby travelled to compete in the United Rugby Championship but their games were postponed when South Africa became the first country to identify the new variant.

In a social media post on Monday, the south Wales rugby club said they are continuing to "work with all relevant authorities to secure [their] repatriation back to Wales".

The two people who tested positive on Saturday are still currently in isolation, away from the team hotel, and are said to be in "good health".

On Monday Gafyn Cooper, the Operations Manager for Cardiff Rugby, said: "We've undertaken a round of PCR testing last night and our results have come back negative, so that's very encouraging for the next stage.

"The priority is to keep everyone safe and to get us back home as quickly as possible... there's a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes from a range of people and a range of organisations."

On the two people who have tested positive, Mr Cooper said: "They've been taken to a specialist quarantine hotel here in Cape Town and they're isolating there...the rest of the staff and squad here are in touch with them nearly every hour.

"They're in good spirits, they feel well, which is the most important thing."

He added that the team were developing exercises they can do while in isolation, to keep them active.

"Our head of performances is designing all manner of in room activities and exercises an youtube videos to get them activated and keep them moving," Mr Cooper said.

He also explained that there are "softer" entertainment activities being arranged, like zoom quizzes and face time calls.

Munster, a rugby team from Ireland, are also unable to leave South Africa after a positive case of Covid in their ranks. European rugby chiefs are monitoring the situation and said they "are in contact with the clubs".

The Heineken Champions Cup is due to kick off on December 10, with Cardiff hosting European champions Toulouse the following day, and Munster visiting Wasps 24 hours later.

Scarlets players and staff, meanwhile, are now understood to be isolating at a Belfast hotel after arriving into Dublin from South Africa during the early hours of Monday.

Munster and Cardiff had hoped to join the Scarlets in leaving Cape Town on Sunday aboard a charter flight after South Africa was added to the UK Government’s travel red list.

Round seven URC fixtures, scheduled to take place in South Africa next weekend, have also been postponed.