Scarlets forfeit Champions Cup clash to Bristol with 32 players in quarantine

Munster also in similar position with squad split between South Africa and Ireland

Scarlets will not play their Champions Cup match with Bristol. Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Scarlets have forfeited their Heineken Champions Cup pool game against Bristol at Ashton Gate on Saturday.

Tournament organiser European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) has confirmed a 28-0 scoreline in Bristol’s favour and an award of five match points to the Gallagher Premiership club.

The Scarlets currently have 32 players in quarantine at a Belfast hotel after flying home last week from UK Government red-listed South Africa, where they had been due to play two United Rugby Championship fixtures.

Munster are in a similar position to Scarlets after they returned to Ireland from South Africa last Wednesday with 14 players and staff left there in isolation while those that did get home will be in quarantine until midnight on Saturday. Munster are due to take on Wasps on Sunday at 3.15pm. As it stands the Irish province have not yet announced whether they will fulfil the fixture or not.


A statement from the organisers read: “EPCR have been informed by Scarlets that due to player welfare concerns and the club’s inability to safely field a match day squad, they are not in a position to fulfil their Heineken Champions Cup, round 1 fixture against Bristol Bears scheduled for Saturday, 11 December at Ashton Gate.

“The fixture in Pool B is therefore cancelled with Bristol Bears awarded the match on a 28-0, five match points basis, in accordance with the tournament rules.”

Fresh travel restrictions were imposed on South Africa following the discovery of a new coronavirus variant.

Scarlets’ trip to Bristol was scheduled just a day after finishing their 10-day isolation period and they urged EPCR to reconsider its position on the rescheduling of European matches.

A club statement said: “Following discussions between Scarlets management, coaches, players and medical and conditioning staff, the overwhelming feeling was that it would be a physical risk to select any of the 32 front-line squad members who are currently in quarantine in a hotel outside of Belfast.

“Since returning from South Africa, the travelling party have been in a strict 10-day quarantine, confined to their rooms with limited outdoor time a day without having been able to train as a group.

“That isolation period is due to end on Friday, December 10 — just a day before the Bristol fixture.

“At present, we have 14 fit Scarlets players training at Parc y Scarlets — seven senior players and seven development players.

“We would like to thank the Ospreys and Dragons for their offer of assistance but, unfortunately, we have been unable to put together a match-day squad that can safely take the field against the Bears.”