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Bio bubbles demolished for Europe’s URC teams, but Covid testing continues

Visiting sports teams in South Africa is no longer mandatory to live in a bio-safe bubble, but they still have to undergo regular Covid testing.

The same goes for the South African players who are in regular action.

This means that all rugby players and coaching staff of the United Rugby Championship teams from Europe – who will be touring South Africa for the first time in the coming weeks – will be treated as visitors entering the country, SA Rugby said.

Crucially, these teams will no longer have to live in a bio-bubble in one location, such as a hotel or lodge, and stay there all their time in South Africa, and the players and coaching staff will be able to go from day to day. to live day to day like any local.

Zebre from Italy will play against the Stormers next Sunday in Stellenbosch and will face the Sharks in Durban next weekend. How they spend their time outside the rugby fields is up to them.

Previously, teams, especially cricket teams, visiting South African coasts played all their touring matches in one venue (or stayed in one venue), so movement between hotels, airports and playing venues was limited.

Last year’s eight touring matches by the British and Irish Lions in South Africa were also hosted in just two locations: Gauteng and Cape Town. And almost no freedom of movement was allowed to explore the country.

This weekend in South Africa, Europe-based URC teams Scarlets, Munster, Cardiff and Zebre will play matches in Durban, Pretoria, Joburg and Cape Town, with action elsewhere in the country next week.

Clearly, the South African government’s decision to bring the country down on the alarm scale allowed for more freedom of movement for teams and bubble busting.

However, all sporting visitors must meet the country’s requirements when entering South Africa, and in the case of the URC players, both those from Europe and the local South Africans are still required to have a Covid-19 once a week. undergo a screen test.

Previously, in the earlier waves of Covid and even when the South African rugby teams played against each other alone – in the Currie Cup and the Super Rugby Unlocked competitions – players were subjected to Covid testing twice a week and sometimes during the game. screening day too.

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