Cardiff Rugby secure flight back to UK from South Africa on Thursday pending Covid tests

The two positive cases will have to stay in South Africa, but the rest of the squad should be able to return to the UK on Thursday Credit: PA

Cardiff Rugby are set to return to the UK on Thursday having been stranded in South Africa since the weekend.

The Welsh side has been stuck in Cape Town since South Africa was added to the UK Government's red coronavirus travel list.

Cardiff had hoped to leave on Sunday aboard a charter flight, but two positive cases prevented that from happening.

Yesterday, ITV Wales reported the squad was experiencing serious mental health and wellbeing issues.

Now, Cardiff's players and staff who test negative will return to the UK on a charter plane and quarantine in a Government hotel for 10 days.

A statement from the Welsh club read: "Cardiff Rugby plan to depart Cape Town on Thursday morning after the club secured a charter flight and quarantine accommodation in England.

"The Blue and Blacks' traveling contingent, which includes 15 full Welsh internationals, had been left stranded in the city after South Africa was placed on the UK's red list and borders were closed to arrivals from six countries on the continent - now 10 in Wales.

"It had been hoped they would be able to depart on a flight with Munster Rugby, Scarlets and Zebre Parma on Sunday, but two positive cases ruled out the departure.

"However, working in collaboration with the United Rugby Championship and the Welsh Rugby Union, a charter flight has been confirmed for Thursday morning. 

"Those remaining in South Africa will undertake 10-days quarantine in a South African Covid-19 hotel and will be repatriated to the UK as soon as possible.

"Cardiff Rugby would like to thank the URC, WRU and government agencies in South Africa for their support at this difficult time."

Scarlets players and staff are currently isolating at a hotel in Belfast.

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.

Teams who are unable to fulfill European Cup fixtures face forfeiting the game under strict tournament rules, and it is understood that competition organisers currently have no plans to postpone games.