Munster have been put on high alert amid growing concerns about a worrying new Covid variant, which is prevalent in South Africa.
ohann van Graan’s men are currently in Pretoria ahead of Saturday’s United Rugby Championship game against the Bulls, before they are due to travel to Johannesburg next week to take on the Lions.
England is to place South Africa under its red list travel restrictions, and with Munster due to take on Wasps in Coventry in their Heineken Champions Cup opener the weekend after arriving home from South Africa, the province are facing potential issues.
According to widespread reports, the new strain, B.1.1.529, was identified after a surge of cases in Gauteng, an area containing Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Although no cases of the new variant have currently been detected in the UK, flights from South Africa are set to be banned from tomorrow, while other restrictive measures could also be introduced for people who have recently spent time in South Africa.
The Munster squad are in their own protective bubble in Pretoria, but given the escalating nature of the situation, it remains to be seen what, if any, impact it will have on their next two games in South Africa, as well as their European opener against Wasps.
Earlier this week, van Graan spoke about the current state of his home country.
“Covid-wise, although I’m not a numbers man, I do believe the case numbers are currently way less than it is in Ireland,” the Munster head coach said.
“According to South African law, you have to wear a mask when you’re inside and when you head outside, but otherwise it’s normal life.
“You can have a coffee and move around, but of course we try to look after ourselves as best we can, as we do in Limerick.
“We know this virus doesn’t ask questions, so we test every morning, and try our best to remain healthy. Otherwise it’s pretty similar to Ireland in terms of what we can and can’t do.”
Munster Rugby and United Rugby Championship have been contacted for comment.
Source link : https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/pro14/potential-covid-impact-on-pretoria-based-munsters-heineken-cup-opener-with-south-africa-to-be-added-to-uks-red-list-41090117.html
Publish date : 2021-11-25 21:43:00