Cardiff Rugby are poised to return from South Africa to quarantine in England while their two positive cases quarantine for 10 days in total in South Africa.

The Arms Park outfit had been in Cape Town to play their United Rugby Championship fixtures with Emirates Lions and DHL Stormers.

However, the matches were postponed after South Africa was placed on the UK Government’s red travel list due to concerns over the new Omicron Covid-19 variant.

A change in guidelines against non-essential travel to and from the country, the suspension of flights and potential periods of hotel isolation meant Cardiff were unable to fly back to the UK after there were two positive Covid-19 cases within their travelling party.

The entire squad have since been isolating in South Africa, but, after collaborating with the Welsh Rugby Union, South African Rugby Union and the relevant public authorities, it has been confirmed that Cardiff are now able to return to the UK.

They will fly to England on Thursday before undergoing 10 days of isolation in a hotel, after they say they were left “stranded” in Cape Town.

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A statement read: “Cardiff Rugby plan to depart Cape Town on Thursday morning after the club secured a charter flight and quarantine accommodation in England.

“The Blue and Blacks’ travelling contingent, which includes 15 full Welsh internationals, had been left stranded in the city after South Africa was placed on the UK’s red list and borders were closed to arrivals from six countries on the continent – now 10 in Wales.

“It had been hoped they would be able to depart on a flight with Munster Rugby, Scarlets and Zebre Parma on Sunday, but two positive cases ruled out the departure.

“However, working in collaboration with the United Rugby Championship and the Welsh Rugby Union, a charter flight has been confirmed for Thursday morning. Upon arrival in England, Wales’ capital city club will then begin a 10-day period of isolation in a UK Government Covid-19 hotel.

“Those remaining in South Africa will undertake 10-days quarantine in a South African Covid-19 hotel and will be repatriated to the UK as soon as possible.

“Cardiff Rugby would like to thank the URC, WRU and government agencies in South Africa for their support at this difficult time.

“No further comment will be made.”

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Cardiff had secured a 98-bedroom hotel in Cardiff city centre in which they planned to isolate upon returning to the UK, although those proposals were effectively scuppered after it emerged they would need to go through the Home Office and the portal booking process of the official accredited company CTM.

A total of 48 people associated to the region were isolating at a Cape Town hotel, with the two who tested positive staying in a separate hotel as part of their 14-day isolation period.

Concerns were later raised over the well-being of some of those within the Cardiff party.

A Cardiff source said: “We have got reports of people having panic attacks, we have reports of anxiety and mental health issues.

“We are having to put the WRU mental well-being officer on constant call.”

Cardiff are scheduled to host Toulouse in the group stages of the Champions Cup on Saturday, December 11, although the fixture is now in doubt given that the bulk of the squad will be in isolation.

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