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Munster still working on securing a route out of South Africa

The Munster squad and staff are still in South Africa after the cancellation of their next two United Rugby Championship matches due to concern over the new Omicron Covid-19 variant.

Yesterday, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly confirmed that anyone returning to the country from seven southern African countries regardless of vaccine, recovery or PCR test status will have to quarantine at home.

People will have to take two PCR tests during their quarantine period. Donnelly was asked specifically about the Munster contingent and said that the measures apply “regardless of status.”

Munster are still working on confirming a route out of the country and a statement from the province released on Saturday morning said that the 34 players and 14 staff are remaining in their hotel complex.

“Munster Rugby continue to work tirelessly on travel plans for getting the touring party back to Ireland as soon as possible,” the statement reads.

“Based in Loftus Park the touring group of 34 players and 14 staff are remaining within the hotel environment waiting on further developments.

“The training week was well spent at the nearby Affies high school with the squad having the gym, pitch, and meeting room facilities to themselves.

“While it was an enjoyable and productive week in the build-up to what would have been today’s game against the Vodacom Bulls the focus has now switched to ensuring the squad’s return to Ireland.”

Head of medical Dr Jamie Kearns said: “We were really looking forward to this URC encounter especially given Johann [Van Graan’s] relationship with the club. Overall, the week has gone smoothly with everyone in high spirits.

“We are disappointed not to be playing today, but we are all too aware of the ever-changing world of Covid-19 and the danger it represents, and our priority is the health and well-being of the group.

“After receiving negative PCR test results, we continue to follow Covid protocols, restrict our movements and remain within our bubble as the work continues in the background on getting the touring party back to Ireland.”

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