The bulk of Munster Rugby's squad are expected back in Dublin on Wednesday evening as 34 players and staff left Cape Town on Tuesday.

The latest round of PCR testing returned four more cases of Covid-19 in the group, which means 14 members of the original travelling party will see out their 10 days quarantine in South Africa before returning to Ireland.

Those returning to Ireland tomorrow will undertake their quarantine at home, meaning they will almost certainly be unavailable for Munster's opening Heineken Champions Cup game against Wasps on 12 December.

The province confirmed the news of their return this evening.

"In a hugely positive development the wider Munster touring party departed Cape Town tonight after a group of 34 players and staff received negative results on completing a fourth round of PCR testing in six days.

"Team management worked tirelessly on securing scheduled flights at short notice and the group are expected to land in Dublin on Wednesday evening.

"Another four positive cases were identified in Tuesday's round of PCR testing and a total group of 14 will see out their respective isolation periods at the designated quarantine hotel in Cape Town."

Cardiff are set to return to the United Kingdom on Thursday having been stranded in South Africa after the cancellation of their matches in the United Rugby Championship.

Munster and Cardiff have been stuck in Cape Town since South Africa was added to the UK Government's travel red list.

They had hoped to join Zebre Parma in leaving on Sunday aboard a charter flight but two positive cases stopped that.

Scarlets players and staff are currently isolating at a Belfast hotel, while Parma’s squad are doing likewise in Italy.

The Champions Cup is due to kick off on 10 December, with Cardiff hosting European champions Toulouse the following day and Munster visiting Wasps 24 hours later.

The Scarlets are scheduled to begin their European campaign against Bristol at Ashton Gate on 11 December, with Munster and Cardiff also facing 10 days of quarantine when they eventually arrive back.

Teams who are unable to fulfil European Cup fixtures face forfeiting the game under strict tournament rules, and it is understood that competition organisers currently have no plans to postpone games.

Such a stance, though, drew criticism last season after a handful of coronavirus-related cancellations saw teams deemed responsible handed 28-0 defeats.