URC's growing problem as 22nd game gets postponed
NEWS: There seems to be little light at the end of the tunnel for the massively virus-affected United Rugby Championship as this weekend’s clash between Scarlets and Dragons has become the 22nd game in five rounds of fixtures to get called off.
The revamped tournament managed to get through its opening rounds in September and October relatively unscathed.
However, the five-country event has been hit hard since the emergence of the omicron variant resulted in the postponement of URC matches in South Africa involving Cardiff, Munster, Scarlets and Zebre after those four teams had arrived in the southern hemisphere to play.
That resulted in a quarantine nightmare for those teams that travelled and the league has struggled to regain lost momentum since then.
Aside from rescheduling this weekend’s originally planned round ten games in Europe for the four South African franchises, the Welsh derby featuring Dragons at Parc y Scarlets has now also fallen by the wayside.
URC released the statement confirming the latest setback.
“The game was due to take place on Saturday in Llanelli. However, a number of positive Covid-19 cases within the Dragons playing squad have been reported by the region,” the statement read.
“The URC medical advisory group has liaised with the region and having considered all the facts have deemed that the fixture cannot go ahead as scheduled.
“The United Rugby Championship will now consider available dates to reschedule the game.”
It’s the latest setback in a troubled period for the revamped tournament which had five recent round eight and four round nine matches postponed due to the virus, meaning a total of 22 matches in five rounds have had to be postponed.
Some of those matches have been rescheduled but the increasing number of games getting called off has sparked fears that the tournament might not be able to be fully completed in its current 18-round format before the playoffs.
By Kim Ekin, Rugbypass