United Rugby Championship has confirmed that the South African teams' opening 'home’ games will take place in South Africa.

The country had been on the UK’s red list meaning that Scarlets and Cardiff, who were due to play in rounds six and seven, would have had to quarantine upon return for 10 days.

In order to avoid that scenario, contingency plans to play these games in European locations were at advanced stages.

However, since the removal of South Africa from the list, the country can now host all round six and seven games, starting with DHL Stormers v Zebre on 27 November.


Munster are the first Irish team due to travel to the southern hemisphere with games against the Vodacom Bulls (27 November) in Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria and Emirates Lions (4 December) at Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg scheduled.

Ulster's first trip to South Africa takes place in March of next year when they face the Stormers.

Martin Anayi, CEO of United Rugby Championship, said: "This is a brilliant result, not only for the South African teams but for the league which now gets to make a tangible impression in this rugby heartland early in the season.

"Huge credit must go to the South African government, SA Rugby and the leadership figures within our clubs for managing to push through and provide reassurances for these fixtures to be played at their home venues in such a short space of time.

"Up until late last week, it look like a very tall order for this to occur, but now everyone in the league has been bolstered by this news and we will harness that enthusiasm to get ready for some real blockbuster fixtures in Rounds 6 & 7."

It was announced last week that a maximum of 2,000 fully vaccinated supporters will be permitted at sports events in South Africa.

Listen to the RTÉ Rugby podcast on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Follow Munster v Connacht (Saturday 7.35pm) via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport or the RTÉ News app, or watch live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player. Watch Ulster v Lions (Friday 7.35pm) on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player.