Wales and Stormers centre Jamie Roberts has flown back to the UK before South Africa went under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Roberts caught the last flight out of South Africa to Wales on Thursday evening as the country went under lockdown from 12am Friday morning due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The experienced centre, who made a flat he owns in Cardiff available to NHS workers last week, will now be unable to return to South Africa for the foreseeable future but vowed to go back when the virus had abated.
Still, he may have played his last game for the Stormers as the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby season is on an indefinite break and doesn’t look likely to resume much before June.
Hear what message has been given to the Stormers players on day one of the lockdown in South Africa. pic.twitter.com/MAcHlMlHhW
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) March 27, 2020
Stormers coach John Dobson last week said that Roberts had planned to stay in the country and renew his visa at a later stage, but that clearly changed with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announcing that the country would go under lockdown.
‘Unbelievable 10 weeks,’ he posted on social media.
‘Cape Town is a special place. [I] Have loved doing what I love with the Stormers lads this season. Been brilliant to experience Super Rugby at Newlands and beyond.
‘About to board the last flight out of South Africa before the three-week lockdown, which starts at midnight.
‘It’s best we’re home in the UK during this unprecedented time.’
Roberts joined the Stormers as something of a surprise signing from Bath this year. He has been a mainstay in the Stormers’ lineup, starting all six of their Super Rugby games to date.
All the best to you and yours over there Jamie, Cape Town and the Faithful will be here to welcome you back when all this is over. 🔵⚪️ https://t.co/bIEvUxt58D
— DHL STORMERS (@THESTORMERS) March 27, 2020
Photo: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images