Quarantine rules mean a group of 42 players and staff members will not be able to play a role for Cardiff against Toulouse or Harlequins in the Heineken Champions Cup
Cardiff’ s director of rugby has vowed the club will do “everything in its power” to honour its upcoming Heineken Champions Cup games despite having more than two dozen players unavailable due to quarantine rules.
A flight has been chartered to fly most of the squad out of South Africa on Thursday, with players and staff set to quarantine at an unspecified location in England for 10 days upon their return.
Attempts were made to get the squad out of the country last weekend after South Africa was added to the UK’s red travel list, but they were delayed by positive tests.
A total of 28 players and 14 more staff members will fly from Cape Town on Thursday, but an additional six individuals are being forced to stay in a South African quarantine hotel after returning positive tests.
However, quarantine rules mean they will be without every player from that South African trip for those games, and so will be struggling to make up the number for those two crunch Champions Cup clashes.
Tournament rules are strict, and teams who cannot fulfil games should expect to forfeit the game with no plans currently in place to postpone the fixtures.
Despite all the club is up against, director of rugby Dai Young said Cardiff will do what they can to honour their fixtures, and called on some of their academy players to step up if needed.
“Anyone from this trip will be ineligible to face Toulouse and Quins, but we have got a number of internationals back home and we will do everything in our power to honour these fixtures,” he told the club’s official website.
“The team will be made up of the internationals who haven’t come with us and some of our best academy players.
“I am confident they will do the jersey proud, but we need the Cardiff support to get right behind us.
“Gruff Rees will lead the team and he will be assisted by Thomas Rhys Thomas and Richie Rees, who remained in Cardiff to coach those not travelling.
“I know they and the boys will want to do it for the boys in quarantine. We will be watching from our rooms, and it will be a real boost if we see a packed Arms Park.
“They will be supporting the boys, those of us in isolation and the club during what has been the most stressful and challenging period I have experienced as a director of rugby.”
Cardiff will be boosted by the availability of six internationals who did not travel to South Africa.
Josh Adams, Uilisi Halaholo, Tomos Williams, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies and Ellis Jenkins all missed the trip to represent Wales in the Autumn Nations Series.