Cardiff boss: We need ‘convincing’ to return to South Africa

Director of rugby Dai Young has concerns over Cardiff returning to South Africa after their last attempt to play Vodacom United Rugby Championship matches led to a long quarantine for players and staff.

Cardiff players and staff spent almost a month in self-isolation in South Africa and the UK after a number of positive Covid-19 tests within the squad, a situation which was exacerbated by South Africa being placed on the UK’s red list due to the discovery of the new Omicron variant.

This left Cardiff without a total of 32 players for their European Champions Cup matches, instead having to field a makeshift team of academy players, semi-professionals and the handful of Wales internationals who had not made the trip to South Africa.

URC bosses recently announced that Cardiff’s postponed matches against the Lions and Stormers will be played on the final two weekends of the Six Nations in March 2022.

However, when asked about the prospect of returning to South Africa, Young shared that there are still some concerns.

“We’ll take a bit of convincing, to be quite honest,” Young told BBC Sport. The onus is on the URC, really, to convince us that it’s the right thing to do.

“I know they’ve come out and made a statement that we’re [potentially] going back there, but first and foremost we’d need guarantees that if something did happen, we’d get out of there.

“The British government showed their hand and the Welsh government showed their hand. We were pretty much stranded out there.

“It was very difficult for us to get out of the country.

“Once is probably bad luck, twice is a bit stupid really, isn’t it.”

Cardiff captain Josh Turnbull said the players need assurances that they won’t be left stranded from their families as they were the first time around.

“As players, we want assurances that there’s going to be things in place that are going to look after us.

“It’s important the players and staff aren’t hung out to dry basically, like it felt we were when we were out there before.

“What’s important is the URC get clarity on what happens and there’s assurances in place that we can get out there with a safe passage.

“Ultimately, we want to play the games against the best teams but we also want to know that players and staff are going to be safe as well.”

Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images

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