Cardiff Director of Rugby Dai Young. Pic: Getty Images

Cardiff Rugby’s Dai Young Speaks Out On Future Of United Rugby Championship After Quarantine Nightmare

By Rob Carbon

The United Rugby Championship could be thrown into disarray if the tournament organisers can’t provide guarantees on a safe, secure and speedy passage home for the four teams they now expect to relive their recent traumatic travel experiences to and from South Africa.

The four teams who found themselves stranded in Cape Town, Munster, Cardiff, Scarlets and Zebre, have been told by URC they will be expected to return to South Africa to fulfil the eight missing fixtures.

But Cardiff Rugby’s director of rugby, Dai Young, speaking for the first time since coming out of 16 days of quarantine, said his players “would take some convincing” to make a return trip to play against the Lions and Stormers.

Some of the Welsh regional players spent more than two weeks in isolation in hotels in South Africa and Gatwick before finally getting back to their families last week because of the Omicron variant scare.

Eight fixtures were lost, leaving the tournament in tatters unless the games can be replayed. The stranded players will finally get back into action on Boxing Day when Cardiff host Scarlets at the Arms Park.

That game will now be behind closed doors following an edict from the Welsh Government to ban fans from sporting events over the festive period.

“We’ll take a bit of convincing to go back to South Africa, to be quite honest. The onus is on the URC, really, to convince us that it’s the right thing to do,” said Cardiff’s director of rugby, Dai Young.

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

“The British Government showed their hand, as did the Welsh Government. We were pretty much stranded out there and 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. We understand the league but it would be silly for us to put ourselves back in that same predicament of going out there without any guarantees that if the worst happened, we could get home.

“The URC have to find a way of giving us those guarantees. I don’t really see how they can expect us to go out there again when there is a possibility of us getting stuck again.”

The 10 days in isolation added around £80,000 to the bill for Cardiff and Scarlets and now they face further financial penalties by having to play their biggest games of the season behind closed doors. The Scarlets host the Ospreys on New Year’s Day.

The Welsh Government has set aside £3m to help those sports that will be disadvantaged by the ‘no fans’ ruling. Cardiff and the Scarlets can expect to lose around £150,000 each from their festive fixtures, while Chepstow racecourse will add around £50,000 in losses to that figure for missing out on a bumper 12,000 crowd at the Welsh Grand National on 27 December.

Cardiff City, Swansea city and Newport County will all be affected, as will all the semi-pro and community rugby and football clubs who traditionally bank their richest returns over the Christmas period.

“It’s disappointing we can’t play in front of fans for what is one of the biggest games of the season for us. At this time of year it is always when the club makes the most money,” said Cardiff skipper Josh Turnbull.

“But while it’s disappointing for the players, we realise the health of every player, their families and the fans has to come first.”

A statement from URC said: “The league is greatly encouraged by the decision of the UK government to ease travel restrictions with respect to South Africa and will continue to comply with directions set out by the health authorities and government departments in our various jurisdictions.

“The URC Medical Advisory Group will continue to provide regular guidance and updates to our Clubs regarding best practice and health and safety measures in relation to Covid-19 protocols.

“The dates and kick-off times for R18 will be confirmed next month after consultation with our broadcast partners who have been of a great assistance during this process.”

 

Schedule from R10 to R17:

 

R10 – Saturday, January 8

Edinburgh v Cardiff | 15:00 UK / 16:00 ITA / 17:00 SA | BBC Wales, Premier Sports

Glasgow Warriors v Ospreys | 17:15 UK / 18:15 ITA / 19:15 SA | Premier Sports, S4C

Munster v Ulster | 19:35 UK / 20:35 ITA / 21 :35 SA | RTE, Super Sport, Premier Sports

Scarlets v Dragons | 19:35 UK / 20:35 ITA / 21 :35 SA | Premier Sports

 

R8 (SA Derbies) – Saturday, January 22

Emirates Lions v Cell C Sharks | 13:00 UK / 14:00 ITA / 15:00 SA | Super Sport, Premier Sports

Vodacom Bulls v DHL Stormers | 15:05 UK / 16:05 ITA / 17:05 SA | Super Sport, Premier Sports

 

R11 – Friday, January 28

Ulster v Scarlets | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA | Premier Sports

Dragons v Benetton | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA | BBC Wales, Mediaset, Premier Sports

 

Saturday, January 29

Emirates Lions v Vodacom Bulls | 13.00 UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA | Super Sport, Premier Sports

Connacht v Glasgow Warriors | 14.55 UK / 15.55 ITA / 16.55 SA | RTÉ 2, Premier Sports

Cell C Sharks v DHL Stormers | 15.05 UK / 16.05 ITA / 17.05 SA | SuperSport, Premier Sports

Zebre Parma Parma v Munster | 17.00 UK / 18.00 ITA / 19.00 SA | Mediaset, RTÉ 2, Premier Sports

Ospreys v Edinburgh | 17.15 UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA | Premier Sports

Cardiff v Leinster | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA | S4C, TG4, Premier Sports

 

R9 (SA Derbies) – Saturday, February 5

Vodacom Bulls v Emirates Lions | 13.00 UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA | Super Sport, Premier Sports

DHL Stormers v Cell C Sharks | 15.05 UK / 16.05 ITA / 17.05 SA | Super Sport, Premier Sports

 

R12 (SA Derbies) – Saturday, February 12

Emirates Lions v DHL Stormers | 13.00 UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA | Super Sport, Premier Sports

Vodacom Bulls v Cell C Sharks | 15.05 UK / 16.05 ITA / 17.05 SA | Super Sport, Premier Sports

 

R12 – Friday, February 18

Munster v Edinburgh | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA | TG4, Premier Sports

Cardiff v Zebre Parma | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA | BBC Wales, Mediaset, Premier Sports

 

Saturday, February 19

Leinster v Ospreys | 17.00 UK / 18.00 ITA / 19.00 SA | RTÉ 2, S4C, Premier Sports

Scarlets v Connacht | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA | S4C, TG4, Premier Sports

Glasgow Warriors v Benetton | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA | Premier Sports, Mediaset

 

Sunday, February 20

Dragons v Ulster | 14:00 UK / 15:00 ITA / 16:00 SA | Premier Sports

 

R10 (Rescheduled) – Friday, February 25

Zebre Parma v Vodacom Bulls | 17:30 UK / 18:30 ITA / 19:30 SA | Mediaset, Super Sport, Premier Sports

Leinster v Emirates Lions | 19:35 UK / 20:35 ITA / 21 :35 SA | TG4, Super Sport, Premier Sports

 

Saturday, February 26

Connacht v DHL Stormers | 13:00 UK / 14:00 ITA / 15:00 SA | RTE, Super Sport, Premier Sports

Benetton v Cell C Sharks | 15:05 UK / 16:05 ITA / 17:05 SA | Mediaset, Super Sport, Premier Sport

 

R13 – Friday, March 4

Ulster v Cardiff | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA | BBC NI, BBC Wales, RTÉ 2, Premier Sports

Edinburgh v Connacht | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA | Premier Sports, TG4

 

Saturday, March 5

Benetton v Leinster | 12.55 UK / 13.55 ITA / 14.55 SA | Mediaset, RTÉ 2, Premier Sports

Scarlets v Glasgow Warriors | 17.15 UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA | Premier Sports

Munster v Dragons | 17.15 UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA | TG4, S4C, Premier Sports

 

Sunday, March 6

Ospreys v Zebre Parma | 14.00 UK / 15.00 ITA / 16.00 SA | S4C, Mediaset, Premier Sports

 

R6 (Rescheduled) – Weekend of March 11/12/13

DHL Stormers v Zebre Parma | TBC | Super Sport, Premier Sports

Cell C Sharks v Scarlets | TBC | Super Sport, S4C, Premier Sports

Vodacom Bulls v Munster | TBC | Super Sport, TG4, Premier Sports

Emirates Lions v Cardiff | TBC | Super Sport, S4C, Premier Sports

 

R7 (Rescheduled) – Weekend of March 18/19/20

Vodacom Bulls v Scarlets | TBC | Super Sport, BBC Wales, Premier Sports

Cell C Sharks v Zebre Parma | TBC | Super Sport, Italian TV, Premier Sports

Emirates Lions v Munster | TBC | Super Sport, RTE, Premier Sports

DHL Stormers v Cardiff | TBC | Super Sport, S4C, Premier Sports

 

R14 – Friday, March 25

Emirates Lions v Ospreys | 17.00 UK / 18.00 ITA / 19.00 SA | Super Sport, BBC Wales, Premier Sports

Munster v Benetton | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA | TG4, Mediaset, Premier Sports

 

Saturday, March 26

Zebre Parma v Scarlets | 13.00 UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA | Mediaset, BBC Wales, Premier Sports

DHL Stormers v Ulster | 13.00 UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA | Super Sport, Premier Sports

Cell C Sharks v Edinburgh | 15.05 UK / 16.05 ITA / 17.05 SA | Super Sport, Premier Sports

Cardiff v Glasgow Warriors | 17.15 UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA | Premier Sports

Vodacom Bulls v Dragons | 17.15 UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA | SuperSport, S4C, Premier Sports

Connacht v Leinster | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA | RTÉ 2, Premier Sports

 

R15 – Friday, April 1

Cell C Sharks v Dragons | 18.30 UK / 19.30 ITA & SA | Super Sport, BBC Wales, Premier Sports

Glasgow Warriors v Zebre Parma | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA & SA | Premier Sports, Mediaset

 

Saturday, April 2

Benetton v Connacht | 12.00 UK / 13.00 ITA & SA | Mediaset, RTÉ 2, Premier Sports

Vodacom Bulls v Ulster | 13.00 UK / 14.00 ITA & SA | SuperSport, Premier Sports

Emirates Lions v Edinburgh | 15.05 UK / 16.05 ITA & SA | Super Sport, Premier Sports

DHL Stormers v Ospreys | 17.15 UK / 18.15 ITA & SA | SuperSport, S4C, Premier Sports

Leinster v Munster | 19.00 UK / 20.00 ITA & SA | TG4, Premier Sports

Scarlets v Cardiff | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA & SA | Premier Sports

 

R13 (SA Derbies) – Saturday, April 9

DHL Stormers v Vodacom Bulls | 13:00 UK / 14:00 ITA & SA | Super Sport, Premier Sport

Cell C Sharks v Emirates Lions | 15 :05 UK / 16 :05 ITA & SA | Super Sport, Premier Sport

 

R16 – Friday, April 22

DHL Stormers v Glasgow Warriors | 17.30 UK / 18.30 ITA & SA | SuperSport, Premier Sport

Ulster v Munster | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA & SA | BBC NI, RTÉ 2, Premier Sports

Edinburgh v Zebre Parma | 19.45 UK / 20.45 ITA & SA | Premier Sports, Mediaset

 

Saturday, April 23

Vodacom Bulls v Benetton | 13.00 UK / 14.00 ITA & SA | SuperSport, Mediaset, Premier Sports

Emirates Lions v Connacht | 15.05 UK / 16.05 ITA & SA | SuperSport, RTÉ 2, Premier Sports

Dragons v Scarlets | 15.00 UK / 16.00 ITA & SA | BBC Wales, Premier Sports

Cardiff v Ospreys | 17.15 UK / 18.15 ITA & SA | S4C, Premier Sports

Cell C Sharks v Leinster | 17.15 UK / 18.15 ITA & SA | SuperSport, TG4, Premier Sports

 

R17 – Friday, April 29

Vodacom Bulls v Glasgow Warriors | 18.00 UK / 19.00 ITA & SA | Super Sport, Premier Sports

Munster v Cardiff | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA & SA | TG4, BBC Wales, Premier Sports

 

Saturday, April 30

Emirates Lions v Benetton | 13.00 UK / 14.00 ITA & SA | Super Sport, Mediaset, Premier Sports

Cell C Sharks v Connacht | 15.05 UK / 16.05 ITA & SA | Super Sport, TG4, Premier Sports

Zebre Parma v Dragons | 15.05 UK / 16.05 ITA & SA | Mediaset, S4C, Premier Sports

DHL Stormers v Leinster | 17.15 UK / 18.15 ITA & SA | Super Sport, RTÉ 2, Premier Sports

Ospreys v Scarlets | 17.15 UK / 18.15 ITA & SA | Premier Sports

Edinburgh v Ulster | 19.35 UK / 20.35 ITA & SA | Premier Sports

 

R18 – Weekend of May 20/21/22 (To Be Confirmed in January 2022)

Connacht v Zebre Parma | TBC

Leinster v Edinburgh | TBC

Ulster v Cell C Sharks | TBC

Dragons v Emirates Lions | TBC

Scarlets v DHL Stormers | TBC

Ospreys v Vodacom Bulls | TBC

Glasgow Warriors v Munster | TBC

Benetton v Cardiff | TBC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.