Scarlets urges EPCR to reconsider delay stance amid coronavirus quarantine

Scarlets has urged European Professional Rugby Club to reconsider its stance on scheduling Heineken Champions Cup matches with its 32 players currently under quarantine in Northern Ireland.

NS Welsh people regions will play their tournament opening match at Bristol on December 11, just a day after the end of the 10-day quarantine with the coronavirus right outside Belfast

A statement from Scarlets said: “With Welsh Government judge that the team has gone to South Africa Scarlets is calling on European tournament organizers EPCR to reconsider their stance on scheduling matches. ”

Teams that are unable to complete their Champions League matches may be subject to cancellation in accordance with the strict rules of the tournament, and it is understood that the competition organizers currently have no plans to postpone matches. fight.

However, such a stance was criticized last season after a number of coronavirus-related cancellations saw the responsible clubs lose 28-0.

Executive chairman Simon Muderack said on the Scarlets website: “If we were to play Bristol without the guys at Ulster right now there are four or five positions that we don’t have the body to fill.

“We won’t come out of quarantine until December 10 and a lot of boys in Belfast haven’t played a rugby game since October 22. EPCR has to look at the welfare of the players here. .

We won’t be out of quarantine until December 10th and a lot of these boys in Belfast haven’t played a rugby game since October 22. EPCR has to look at the welfare of the players here.

Scarlets Executive Chairman Simon Muderack

“Without the 32 players quarantined, we would have had to play development players and academy players – some of whom have just graduated in their first senior rugby season – as well. as semi-pro players who juggle their full rugby commitments. -times work and put them head-to-head against a quality party like Bristol.

“That wouldn’t be good for the integrity of the competition or those individuals.”

Muderack is adamant that Scarlet should have been granted “sports immunity” to train in Northern Ireland while the team remained isolated.

He said players were only allowed a short daily stroll around the hotel car park and the risk of injury to unprepared players could be “a career disaster”.

“None of us knew that this situation would happen and South Africa would be put on the red list,” Muderack said.

“URC is a new league and what we are trying to do is support the league’s aspirations by sending our best available team to South Africa to perform as well as we can. That we are doing the right thing of league and rugby.

“For us to be penalized for it really doesn’t sit well with me and we need to find a fair solution for giving up the game for something beyond our control is no good. correct.

“Ideally, we would get the sports exemptions that have been made in the past so that the team, while remaining isolated, can continue to practice and prepare for the upcoming matches.

“For now, the best that the players can do in their hotel in Belfast is exercise individually in their own rooms as well as being allowed a short period of time outside. Walk in the parking lot.

“It was not the preparation for an intense match of European rugby. In our world, physical ability is everything. If the players ‘do not work well’, it can be catastrophic for the career and increase the risk of direct injury.

Ospreys head coach Toby Booth says he is open to loaning Scarlets players for European matches (David Davies/PA)

(PA Archive)

“The Scarlets have a proud history in European competitions and we look forward to trying our hand at two teams in Bristol and Bordeaux, who have risen to the top among the best in Europe. record in recent years.

“It’s disappointing that we’re not allowed to do that on a level playing field.”

Ospreys head coach Toby Booth said their neighbors Scarlets had contacted them to ask if they had any players.

“They asked for seven or eight,” Booth told a news conference ahead of the Ospreys’ home URC game against Ulster.

“We are here to help because it is important that we see the bigger picture here. It would suit us giving everyone a chance to play in a reputable game.

“The boundaries are definitely softer when you have to do backup planning to that extent, so it’s about everyone in the tent coming together, helping each other and taking care of each other.

“Obviously we need player approval and the EPCR needs to agree that people are not bound by the way they play, but hopefully common sense will prevail and we can keep everyone going. player.”

Cardiff have said that a tour group of 42 players and staff will fly out of Cape Town on Thursday.

The 10-day quarantine period upon arrival in the UK – the team intend to serve their quarantine period in the UK – has put their Heineken Champions Cup opener against Toulouse and the Harlequins in jeopardy.

But rugby director Dai Young says Cardiff will “do everything in our power” to play those two matches. Scarlets urges EPCR to reconsider delay stance amid coronavirus quarantine


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