The rearranged fixtures after last year's Omicron outbreaks are available, reports Kit Shepard

Welsh regions have to go back to South Africa… Again

Cardiff and Scarlets will return to South Africa in March after being stranded there last year.

Eight United Rugby Championship games were postponed in late November and December due to the Covid-19 Omicron variant, with the clubs temporarily unable to travel home after outbreaks while touring.

The games, which also included four South African teams, Munster and Zebre, have been rearranged for next month.

They will take place on the weekends of 11-13 March and 18-20 March

The fixtures will clash with the final two rounds of the Six Nations.

Martin Anayi, URC chief executive, said: “We were fully aware of the circumstances that isolation presented.

“Our clubs and players are confident that contingences now exist that – no matter how unlikely to be needed – can expedite any future process.”

The URC have devised a new protocol for any repeat outbreaks and there will be improved cooperation with health authorities.

South Africa have not hosted URC matches involving clubs outside the Rainbow Nation since early 2020.

Cardiff suffered an outbreak while in South Africa last November, forcing some players and staff to spend almost a month in self-isolation after.

A 42-strong group who tested negative were blocked from leaving the country three times and had to quarantine for ten days in London when they did return.

The Scarlets travelling party had to quarantine for ten days in Northern Ireland.

Last November South Africa was placed under the UK’s red list travel restrictions, which included a mandatory ten-day quarantine, in response to the new variant.

Munster faced similar measures on return to Ireland and the initial departure left 14 of their party behind in Cape Town.

Speaking to BBC Sport in December, Cardiff coach Dai Young admitted his side would be cautious about returning to South Africa.

He said: “We’ll take a bit of convincing.

“The British government showed their hand and the Welsh government showed their hand. We were pretty much stranded out there.”

You can see the fully updated URC fixtures.

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