Leinster head coach Leo Cullen says he trusts the United Rugby Championship organisers will make the right decision over how to proceed with the rest of this season.

This weekend's South African fixtures, as well as round seven's games, have all been postponed following the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant in the country.

It comes as a hammer blow to the competition, which was due to host the first round of games in South Africa this weekend, with Munster working on a return home as soon as possible, and Cardiff and the Scarlets also scrambling to get back to Wales to avoid a possible hotel quarantine.

While Leinster aren't due to travel to South Africa until later in the season, Cullen says it's a hugely unfortunate development for the competition, which endured similar disruptions last season.

"It's as the situation unfolds," Cullen said, when asked if he had been informed of any contingency plans.

"It was looking very exciting that the games were going ahead this weekend, but it's pretty unfortunate and hopefully it plays out OK.

"There are bigger concerns than rugby matches, I'm sure.

"We'll see how it plays out but from our point of view we're playing two inter-provincial derbies in the next two weekends and then we're into Europe so nothing changes drastically from our point of view."

Cullen added that there are empty weekends during the Six Nations window which could be used to alleviate a potential fixture congestion.

"It's not great news, our thoughts are with the people trying to get themselves out of there. Hopefully that'll all play out over the next couple of days.

"Presumably there'll be some sort of plan put in place to reschedule the games. At least there are plenty of free weekends during the Six Nations from a logistics point of view, so we'll see how it plays out," the Leinster coach added.

The province have picked an experienced squad for tomorrow evening's top-of-the-table inter-pro against Ulster at the RDS (live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player) as Tadhg Furlong and Robbie Henshaw return from international duty straight into the starting team.

It will be a first Leinster outing for Furlong since he signed his new three-year contract with the IRFU to remain with his home province until 2025

"Tadhg has been exceptional really," added Cullen.

"He had a very frustrating early part of last season where he missed a good chunk of time for Leinster and Ireland.

"Since he's come back he's been great, and from a personal point of view he went very well on the Lions series. He's kicked off in good form this season, played a couple of games for us before the November series, and like a lot of guys has gone well which is really pleasing to see."

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Follow Leinster v Ulster (Saturday, 8pm) via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app. Watch Connacht v Ospreys (Friday 7.35pm) and Leinster v Ulster live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player or listen to the inter-pro derby on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.