Ulster now face the daunting task of getting themselves home in the wake of the outbreak of sickness in their squad which resulted in the postponement of today’s URC round six game at the Sharks.
The northern province would have been scheduled to fly back at the start of next week though it is unclear if this is still achievable due to the gastroenteritis infections which made fulfilling the clash with the Sharks impossible for Dan McFarland’s squad.
Ulster are due to play Munster in Thomond Park on Saturday which is their last scheduled URC game before hosting Zebre on November 25th after the Autumn Tests have been completed.
It is also unclear when, or indeed if, the match with the Sharks – who were fully loaded had today’s game gone ahead – will finally be played, requiring Ulster to make the long haul back to Durban, though a potential date could well be during the Six Nations window.
Ulster and the Sharks are not the only ones having to change their plans as today’s meeting between the Lions and Glasgow Warriors in Johannesburg – where Ulster won last weekend – has also succumbed to an outbreak of gastroenteritis which has felled the visiting squad.
A statement issued yesterday by the URC said: “Due to gastroenteritis infections it is not possible for Ulster or Glasgow Warriors to field full playing squads.
“In order to ensure a duty of care towards the players involved and given the medical advice received from all key stakeholders, the URC has made the decision not to go ahead with these fixtures.
“The league will now move to examine potential dates to possibly reschedule the games and will update in due course.”
Though Ulster have not made any official statement, the province’s CEO Jonny Petrie took to social media and said: “We’re all really disappointed here that the match can’t go ahead – would have been some game.
“Just not possible with the amount of sickness in the squad though – not seen anything like it before. Health and wellbeing comes first.”