Update from Scarlets chairman
Scarlets chairman Simon Muderack has spoken this morning about the work that has gone on overnight to get the squad home from Durban.
“It’s clearly a matter of great concern,” he told BBC Radio Wales.
“John Daniels our general manager for rugby and Sara Davies our team manager as well as a number of people on the team have worked through the night to find out the possibilities and have kept me constantly updated.
“Hopefully we will be able to put together a final solution within the next few hours.
“First of all, we have to make sure that the whole team, the staff that is down there, is safe. So they have gone into a bubble to try to minimize any risk to themselves.
“Secondly, of course, we want them home, and thirdly, we want them home as directly as possible.
“And then, fourthly, we would like to have them home before the 04.00 deadline on Sunday. It is clear that their security and repatriation are the top priorities, and if we achieve the last two better.
“Their families at home are obviously worried. We want the boys and girls who were on the trip to come home and go home.
“From a rugby perspective, which of course gives us more options in terms of how we can then continue with the season over the next few weeks, but certainly, priority number one is about the people rather than rugby, but it’s clear, that there is a rugby influence too. ”
Muderack added: “I found out about this at 9:06 pm last night and I think the news came around 9pm.
“So within five or six minutes after the words were uttered, we picked up right away.
“To be fair, we immediately made the decision on a people’s basis without any consideration of what the consequences would be from a rugby point of view.
“So even before we had any confirmation from the league what that would mean in terms of the matches, we immediately made the decision to step up the steps to get the boys and girls down there back.
“I’m sure their phones have been ringing all night and their families at home are worried about their health, well – being, and also, when to see them, and if they get home, when will they come home. That home, should they be gathered in a quarantined environment?
“So I’m sure they’ve had sleepless nights, and that clearly means that rugby’s considerations in the short term are secondary.
“Obviously it is a serious situation. There is a need, but the decision to repatriate as soon as possible, regardless of the rugby consequence, was a very easy decision to make.”
He concluded: “We need to unlock our travel opportunities, we already have secured opportunities to repatriate people.
“So I think in terms of making sure the players in the staff that are down there are safe, it’s job number one and well underway, to make sure there’s a set of options to get them back to the UK. We have it in place to try to get direct opportunities and try to get in before the curfew at 4am on Sundays is what we are now focusing on.
“We are also talking to and we will cooperate as much as possible with Cardiff Rugby. So if there is anything we can do together, we should definitely look because they are in the same boat as us.”