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South African sports are in chaos as new COVID variants threaten rugby, golf and cricket tournaments

Due to the detection of a new variant of the coronavirus, sports in South Africa faced a suspension on Friday, the British rugby team scrambled to leave before imposing travel restrictions, and the first event of the new DP World Tour of golf was threatened.

The four rugby teams were originally scheduled to face South Africa in the United Rugby Championship (URC), but the Welsh clubs Cardiff and Scarlets said they plan to leave because the UK is preparing to implement travel restrictions at 1200 GMT on Friday.

Cardiff said on Twitter: “Because the situation in South Africa has changed so quickly, we are now seeking to repatriate our employees as soon as possible.”

“For the family and friends concerned, please rest assured that our focus is to ensure the safety and well-being of our people and will keep you informed of any developments.”

Scarlets said they also want to leave as soon as possible.

Officials told Reuters on Friday that the URC game will be cancelled and is expected to be announced later.

Cardiff was originally scheduled to play against the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday, while the Scarlet team will face the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

Due to the meeting with the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday, or the Italian Zebre team against the Stormers in Cape Town, there is no news about the plans of the Irish club Munster.

They are the first clubs to arrive in South Africa since the beginning of the pandemic, and the postponement of the schedule will deal a major blow to the newly launched championships consisting of South Africa, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

The first round of Golf Johannesburg Open restarted at 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Friday, after a thunderstorm brought the game to an early end on Thursday.

The second round of the game kicked off at 7 am, but 15 British and Irish golfers had already withdrawn.

This event is the first event on the schedule of the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour).

On Friday, South Africa will host the Netherlands in the first game of the three-day international cricket series.

“At this stage of our planning and preparation, we have not yet heard of any developments related to the impact of the new variants on inbound international players,” South Africa Cricket told Reuters on Friday.

“If this changes, CSA will issue statements and recommendations on any planned adjustments.”

South Africa will also host India next month. This tournament is expected to be a great boon for the South African cricket team. India will have three tests in December and January, followed by a limited series.


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