Rescheduled URC games in South Africa confirmed
NEWS: South Africa’s four United Rugby Championship teams will host Scarlets, Munster, Cardiff and Zebre Parma next month in two rescheduled rounds of the competition, which had to be postponed late last year.
With the onset of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in November last year, travel restrictions resulted in several fixtures being postponed, and with the pandemic seemingly taking a turn, tournament organisers announced on Wednesday that the rescheduled matches from rounds six and seven will be played next month.
The Sharks will host Scarlets in Durban, the Bulls will take on Munster in Pretoria, the Lions will battle it out with Cardiff in Johannesburg, and the Stormers will line up against Zebre Parma in Cape Town in the rescheduled Round Six fixtures on the weekend of 11-13 March.
A week later, from 18-20 March, the Round Seven fixtures will see the Bulls meet Scarlets in Pretoria, the Lions take on Munster in Johannesburg, the Sharks host Zebre Parma in Durban, and the Stormers go up against Cardiff in Cape Town.
The South African teams will play their fourth round of derbies in a row on Saturday before enjoying a well-deserved week break before a short one-week trip abroad at the end of the month.
United Rugby Championship CEO Martin Anayi said: “I would like to say special thanks to the teams, broadcasters and support staff involved in rescheduling these games. These fixtures hold a huge significance in South Africa who are eagerly awaiting the first visit of URC teams to their stadiums which have not hosted international opponents since early 2020.
“Having been on the ground alongside other members of the URC management team in December when these games were postponed, we were fully aware of the circumstances that isolation presented.
“Player welfare remains paramount to rugby’s success and after much internal consultation we believe that our clubs and players are confident that contingences now exist that – no matter how unlikely to be needed – can expedite any future process.
“With 12 of our teams due to tour South Africa before the end of the season we know they will receive a warm welcome off the pitch. Through a sporting lens, COVID has thrown a lot at us but we’re very optimistic that the effort and co-ordination involved to get back on track should reward us with a lot of entertaining rugby and a tremendous finish to the first URC season.”
Rescheduled United Rugby Championship fixtures (SA kick-off times):
Friday, March 11:
19.10: Sharks v Scarlets (Kings Park, Durban)
Saturday, March 12:
16.05: Bulls v Munster (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
Sunday, March 13:
16.00: Lions v Cardiff (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)
Time TBC: Stormers v Zebre Parma (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town)
Friday, March 18
19.10: Bulls v Scarlets (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
Saturday, March 19:
14.00: Lions v Munster (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)
18.30: Sharks v Zebre Parma (Kings Park, Durban)
Sunday, March 20
14.00: Stormers v Cardiff (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town)