Cardiff’s European Cup bid could be over before it begins if they are unable to escape their Covid hell in time to face champions Toulouse.
Dai Young's team are stuck in South Africa, where they had travelled to play two URC fixtures only to be stranded when the Rainbow Nation was suddenly added to the UK’s red travel list last Thursday.
With two positive Covid cases, one suspected to be the new Omicron variant, Cardiff are unable to leave Cape Town.
The fear is that they will have to undergo 10 days of isolation before being allowed to fly, followed by a further 10 of hotel quarantine on arrival back.
Toulouse are due in the Welsh capital on Saturday week and the rule of the Champions Cup is that teams who fail to fulfil fixtures not only forfeit the game but are condemned to a 28-0 scoreline.
It is understood Cardiff will not be granted an exemption despite the unique circumstances of their case.
And with home and away pool games against English champions Harlequins to come, followed by a return trip to Toulouse, that would leave them with a mountain to climb.
Operations manager Gafyn Cooper confirmed last night that the team were self-isolating under “hard” quarantine conditions - and that the PCR tests taken on Sunday night had all come back negative.
The two players with coronavirus are in a “specialist” quarantine hotel elsewhere in Cape Town, "feeling well”.
Image:Sportsfile via Getty Images)
The rest of the squad are confined to their rooms, having food brought to them and exercising using online videos.
“Our head of performance has been designing all manner of in-room activities, exercises and YouTube videos to get them activated and keep them moving as we still need to get exercise into these lads,” said Cooper.
“We are arranging for equipment to be brought in to do as much as we can in our rooms.”
Image:Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians)
Image:Warren Little/Getty Images)
Meanwhile it has emerged that a Barbarians player returned a positive lateral flow test a day before the invitation side was due to play Samoa at Twickenham.
The game was cancelled just 90 minutes before kick-off, despite more than 40,000 tickets having been sold.
A round of PCR tests ordered on Friday revealed six positives the following morning.
A decision on the game was not taken until 1pm due, according to a source, to the time it took to "review the medical evidence and possible mitigating factors”.