By Paul Jones
Jamie Roberts’ positive test for coronavirus has thrown both of this weekend’s Welsh derbies into doubt.
The Dragons confirmed on Tuesday evening that their marquee signing and former Wales and Lions centre had tested positive for the virus.
That puts paid to any debut for the 33-year-old centre for his new region, who are due to face the Ospreys in the resumption of the Guinness Pro 14 at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.
But current Welsh government and Public Health Wales’ Test, Trace and Protect guidance also means the match itself and that of the Scarlets against Cardiff Blues on Saturday are also under threat.
The Dragons have not said when exactly Roberts’ tested positive for Covid 19, but players at all four regions are tested every Tuesday, with the results coming back after 24 hours.
Even if the result was given a week ago on August 12, the guidance states that anyone who has come into close contact with the person concerned should self-isolate for 14 days.
Should those contacts have a test and it proves negative, they are still required to isolate for the 14-day period.
Always promised myself when I left Wales in 2013 that I’d endeavor to return to play in Gods Country. Delighted and grateful to be given that opportunity this season with @dragonsrugby
Exciting things happening at the club. Look forward to helping the club grow on and off field pic.twitter.com/8jprv2GjGE
— Jamie Roberts (@Jamiehuwroberts) August 3, 2020
The guidance states: “A contact means: someone within 1 metre of them with whom they have had a face-to-face-conversation, had skin-to-skin physical contact, have coughed on, or been in other forms of contact within 1 metre or 1 minute or longer.
“someone within 2 metres of them for more than 15 minutes
“someone they have travelled in a vehicle with – or has been seated near them on public transport.
“The contact tracer will take into consideration any additional circumstances, such as contacts who work in health and social care professional roles and the correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), any protective screens used in the workplace, and adherence to the 2m distancing rule which, if correctly followed, will not be regarded as a contact for these purposes.
“A second contact tracer will then get in touch with the people on the list that your employee has provided. The contact tracer will advise them sensitively that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
“Their identified contacts will be provided with support, advised to self-isolate for 14 days from their last contact with your employee.”
— Dragons (@dragonsrugby) August 18, 2020
Roberts had returned from South Africa when lockdown began and the qualified doctor began working with the National Health Service in Cardiff with no rugby on the horizon.
At that stage he was also a free agent and not contracted to any team.
Prior to his move to Dragons being confirmed, Roberts had spent time travelling in France and it is understood he also went on holiday to Croatia last week.
The 94-cap Test midfielder also remains close friends with players at his former team the Blues and there is genuine concern the virus may well have spread to their camp as well.
A Dragons statement read: ‘Dragons Rugby has returned a positive case for Covid-19 in Welsh Rugby’s testing programme in the round of tests taken week commencing Monday, August 11.
‘All subsequent Public Health Wales and Government guidelines are being followed and the individual – who is symptom free and in good health – is currently isolating.
Dragons Rugby is part of the wider Welsh Rugby Union screening programme which has conducted over 1,100 tests to date as part of the return to training / playing process.
‘This is a confidential and private health matter and we will make no further comment.’
Speaking earlier on Tuesday, Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan said: ‘It’s been a long period since we returned to training with no guarantee of when the start would be.
‘It’s been a really strange, tough time. Everyone just wants to play now.’