Rugby championship games called-off because of new variant discovered in SA

Johannesburg – The United Rugby Union has called off upcoming matches that were scheduled to take place in South Africa over fears surrounding the new coronavirus variant reported in the country.

The variant, which was identified on Tuesday, initially caused concern across the globe, with United Kingdom banning all flights from South Africa.

As the variant carries an “extremely high number” of mutations, the world rugby union has also added its call to restrict all fixtures that were set to take place in SA.

This is in line with a scientistific report that the variant appears to be more transmissible, due to the mutations.

In a statement, the world rugby union said all fixtures will be rescheduled later this season.

“This decision is based upon the latest guidance against non-essential travel to and from South Africa. The ban on direct flights to the UK and other home destinations and the potential hotel quarantines enforced upon those returning from South Africa.”

“Due to the sudden developments connected with the new COVID-19 variant (B.1.1.529) that have immediately placed South Africa on the UK and EU travel red lists, the scheduled Round 6 and 7 United Rugby Championship fixtures set to take place in South Africa over the next two weekends have been postponed and will be rescheduled later this season,” the statement read.

The emergence of the new variant sent competition organisers scrambling for solutions ahead of back-to-back matches set to be hosted in South Africa.

According to the nature and speed of these developments URC said it will issue updates at the appropriate time.

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