The Ospreys’ United Rugby Championship (URC) derby against the Dragons, scheduled for Boxing Day, has been postponed due to coronavirus cases in their squad.
The Welsh region revealed on Monday that 18 members of staff had returned positive results from tests done on Thursday and Friday. The URC are now looking at available dates to reschedule the fixture.
The Ospreys’ Covid cases already resulted in Saturday’s Round Two Champions Cup match against Racing 92 being cancelled with the Top 14 outfit awarded a 28-0 victory.
A statement on the Ospreys’ official website on Monday read: “The Ospreys regret to announce the United Rugby Championship fixture against the Dragons at the Swansea.com Stadium on Boxing Day has been postponed under guidance from Public Health Wales.
“While we are disappointed with this outcome, we fully understand that the health and wellbeing over our people, our supporters and of our opponents and their supporters must be a priority during these unprecedented times.
“Since the start of the pandemic, the Ospreys have followed a high frequency testing regime for all players and staff to minimise the risk of transmission in the workplace, abiding by all the Welsh government health guidelines, and last week was no different.
“The whole of the Ospreys squad underwent the normal LFT’s on Thursday and were cleared to train, but when the PCR test results from that same testing session came through late on Thursday evening 10 members of staff returned positive results, with a further eight testing positive from PCR tests completed on Friday. Further analysis of the positive tests confirmed we are dealing with the Omicron variant.
“We have always held ourselves to the highest public health standards and have done everything we can to ensure the safety of our staff and supporters. All of our squad and staff are fully vaccinated.
“Unfortunately, we find ourselves in this situation and all of our players and staff have now been told to self-isolate over Christmas and Boxing Day until December 27.
“We fully intend to fulfil our fixture with the Scarlets on New Year’s Day.”
Meanwhile, the United Rugby Championship has released a new schedule, adjusted to compensate for the Covid disruption it suffered last month.
A number of South African derbies have been brought to consecutive weekends in January and February in order to minimise inter-continental travel in the short term, while postponed fixtures from November and December which were due to take place in South Africa will now be moved to the weekends of March 11/12 and March 18/19, with more details to follow in the new year.
To avoid further rescheduling in the immediate calendar, fixtures involving South African teams due to take place in Ireland and Italy have been rescheduled to the final weekend of February.
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