Cardiff and Scarlets stuck in South Africa until at least Sunday as UK and EU halt travel

Update from Scarlets chairman

Scarlets chairman Simon Muderack has this morning been talking the work that has been going on overnight to get the squad back home from Durban.

“Clearly this is a matter of great concern,” he said on BBC Radio Wales.

“John Daniels our general manager of rugby and Sara Davies our team manager as well as a number of people in the team have been working through the night to figure out the options and have been keeping me regularly updated.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to pull together a final solution in the next couple of hours.

“Firstly, we need to make sure that the whole team, the staff that are down there, are safe. So they’ve gone into a bubble to try and minimise any risk to themselves.

“Secondly, we obviously want to get them home, thirdly we’d like to get them home as directly as possible.

“And then, fourthly, we’d like to get them home before the 4am deadline on Sunday. Clearly, their safety and repatriation are the top priorities, and if we achieve the final two all better.

“Their families at home are obviously concerned. We want the boys and girls who were on the trip to be able to come home and go home.

“From a rugby perspective that obviously gives us more options in terms of how we can then continue with the season over the next couple of weeks, but certainly, priority number one is about the people rather than the rugby, but clearly, there is a rugby impact too.”

Scarlets chairman Simon Muderack

Muderack added: “I found out about this at 9.06pm last night and I believe the news broke at about 9pm.

“So within five or six minutes of the words being uttered, we picked up immediately.

“To be fair, we immediately made the decision on a people basis without any consideration of what any consequences would be from a rugby standpoint.

“So even before we had any confirmation from the league what this would mean in terms of the fixtures, we immediately made the decision to put in motion the steps to get the boys and the girls that are down there back.

“I’m sure their phones have been ringing through the night and their families at home are concerned for their health, well-being, and also, when are they going to see them and if they do make it home, when will they make it home, are they going to be cooped up in a quarantine environment?

“So I’m sure they’ve had sleepless nights and clearly, that means that consideration of rugby in the short term is secondary.

“Clearly it’s a serious situation. There’s distress, but the decision to repatriate as soon as possible, regardless of the rugby consequence, was a very easy decision to make.”

He concluded: “We need to lock down our travel options, we already have options secure to repatriate people.

“So I think in terms of, making sure the players on the staff that are down there are safe, that’s job number one and well underway, making sure that there’s a set of options to get them back to the UK. We have that in place, trying to get direct options and trying to get in before the 4am curfew on Sunday is what we’re now focused on.

“We are also talking to, and we’ll collaborate to the extent that it’s possible with Cardiff Rugby. So if there’s something that we can do together, clearly we should look a that because they’re in the same boat as us.”

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