Today’s rugby headlines as Alun Wyn Jones undergoes further surgeries and Cardiff leaves South Africa for fourth attempt


Here are your headlines from the rugby morning of Friday, December 3.

Alun Wyn Jones to undergo second shoulder surgery

Alun Wyn Jones will have his second injured shoulder surgery today (Friday).

The Wales and Ospreys lock suffered another shoulder injury 18 minutes after their country’s first fall game with New Zealand in October.

He is set to miss the Six Nations after sustaining a shoulder injury he dislocated at the start of the Lions’ schedule this summer.

Read more: Get the latest Welsh rugby news, interviews and analysis here

The Lions tour enjoyed a miraculous recovery as he flew to South Africa to compete in the Test Series, having initially been ruled out following the warm-up against Japan.

While you would never rule out something similar with the Test rugby cap record holder, Jones being part of the Wales Six Nations title defense seems unlikely at this point.

“Alun Wyn Jones has his second surgery scheduled [on Friday]”Ospreys head coach Toby Booth said at a press conference.

“Everything is going great there – it’s all part of the plan to get him back as soon as possible.”

Cardiff returns from South Africa for the fourth time

Cardiff is bound for the UK on its fourth attempt to leave South Africa.

Their traveling group of 42 players and staff were due to leave Cape Town on Thursday. This whole group returned negative coronavirus tests, but six other people who tested positive were moved to a South African quarantine hotel.

However, Cardiff wrote on its official Twitter account on Thursday: “We can confirm that due to restrictions on inbound flights to the UK and the withdrawal of a landing slot we were unable to take off this morning. We now plan to leave Cape Town [on Friday] Morning. Thank you for all your support. “

A tweet from the club’s social media account on Friday morning confirmed a return home. With pictures of their plane it simply read: “To UK. We’ll see you very soon.” Another tweet said: “Thank you to everyone who helped secure our return to the UK and to our friends in South Africa for looking after us. Diolch.”

The 10-day quarantine period on arrival in the UK – the group are set to serve their period of isolation in England – put their first Heineken Champions Cup games against Toulouse and the Harlequins at risk.

But rugby director Dai Young has said Cardiff “will do everything in our power” to fill those matches.

The withdrawal of landing slots marked the region’s third unsuccessful attempt to leave the country. First, Cardiff had gotten a charter plane and the plan was to get back before Sunday’s 4 a.m. deadline, meaning they wouldn’t have to quarantine themselves in a hotel but could do so at the place at home. But they couldn’t get clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority due to border closures in the UK and EU, so the plane couldn’t leave. .

They were then to fly away on Sunday afternoon, with the Scarlets, Munster and Zebre squads, with Dublin as their initial destination. But as Cardiff arrived at the airport, news arrived of two positive Covid tests, one of which was suspected to be Omicron. So they had to go back to their hotel to isolate themselves.

Zebra cleared for training after returning from South Africa

Zebre was allowed to train again after his safe return from South Africa.

Like Cardiff, Munster and the Scarlets, the Italian side were forced to leave South Africa soon after the emergence of the Omicron variant.

But, unlike the others, the Zebre touring team has received permission from the health authorities to resume training.

Zebre announced that the players will keep their distance from teammates and any third parties who have not made it to Cape Town.

A statement, translated from Italian, said: “The Zebre Rugby Club announces that following the completion of another cycle of molecular swabs on Tuesday, which confirmed the absence of cases of positivity for Covid- 19 in the group of teams returning to Italy, on the 30th the players who took part in the trip to South Africa were given permission to return to train at the Parma Rugby Citadel of the USL Parma.

“The athletes will work without coming into contact with the other players who have remained in Parma, keeping a distance from third parties who are not involved in the bubble, while respecting the health security of all.

“The team group continues to respect the protocol established by the competent authorities. The Zebre Rugby Club thanks the USL of Parma and the Italian Ministry of Health for their collaboration.”

Argentina star suspended for the rest of the year

Argentina’s Tomas Lavanini won’t play again until 2022 after receiving a heavy five-week suspension from World Rugby for his red card against Ireland in the Fall Nations Series.

Lavanini became the first man in Test rugby to be sent off three times after leading with his shoulder in the neck of pillar Cian Healy, who was lying near the back of a ruck.

He had also already received a red card against South Africa in 2017 and England in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Remarkably, the second row didn’t believe the offense deserved a red card.

He will no longer be available for the next Heineken Champions Cup clashes in Clermont and will not play again until 2022, although his ban is reduced by one match after participating in the World Rugby coaches intervention program.

A World Rugby statement read: “The player accepted that he had committed a foul play, but not that it deserved a red card.

“After considering all the evidence, the committee found that there had been contact with the head of an opposing player, in circumstances where the contact was direct and involved a high degree of danger.

“On this basis, the committee upheld the red card and applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum entry point at mid-distance for unfair acts resulting in head contact. This resulted in the starting point of a six week suspension.

“Having recognized the mitigating factors, including the player’s expression of remorse, his conduct at the hearing and the fact that he took active steps to ensure that his assault on the pitch was properly controlled, the committee decided reduced the penalty by two weeks, however, he subsequently demanded to review the player’s previous dismissals and in that regard the committee added a week.

“The net result of this is a five week sanction.

“The player has applied to participate in the coaching intervention program, and this was approved by the panel. This means that he may be able to substitute the final game of his sanction for a coaching intervention aimed at modify specific techniques and technical issues that contributed to foul play. “

Player registration rules relaxed but no postponement for Champions Cup matches

European Professional Club Rugby has relaxed player registration rules in response to the fate of four teams who found themselves stranded in South Africa, but stressed that there was no free weekend for allow postponements.

Cardiff, Munster, the Scarlets and Zebra Parma have all struggled to leave the country after their United Rugby Championship matches were postponed following the imposition of new travel restrictions due to the discovery of a new variant of coronavirus.

The majority of Munster and Zebre’s players and staff have since returned to Ireland and Italy respectively to complete their periods of isolation, but the Scarlets remain locked in a quarantine hotel just outside Belfast and Cardiff are still waiting a flight from Cape Town. .

The Scarlets have urged the EPCR to reconsider its stance on rescheduling Heineken Champions Cup matches, with 32 of their players currently in quarantine.

The Welsh region are due to play their first tournament in Bristol on December 11, just a day after completing their 10-day isolation period.

A statement from Scarlets said: “With the decision by the Welsh government that the team that visited South Africa must see the entire 10-day isolation period in a quarantine hotel outside Belfast , Scarlets urges European EPCR tournament organizers to reconsider their position on rescheduling matches. “

However, the EPCR released its own statement later on Thursday, announcing an option for all teams to bolster their squads with an unlimited number of previously unregistered players while virtually rejecting the possibility of rescheduling fixtures.

“After consultation with leagues and unions, it was decided to extend the date of the first registration last month to allow all participating clubs to supplement their squads with an unlimited number of players not previously registered,” the statement said.

“All new players will need to be registered by Wednesday 8 December at 12 noon UK and Irish time at the latest.

“With no alternative weekends available in the 2021/22 season calendar, the EPCR is in regular dialogue with leagues and clubs to ensure that all possible measures are considered so that matches are proceed as planned.

“While looking forward to another compelling round of group matches, the EPCR is aware of the impact of recent events on Cardiff Rugby, Munster Rugby, Scarlets and Zebre Parma in particular, and the tournament organizer wishes to address its best wishes to the players. and staff who currently remain in South Africa, as well as players and staff who have been repatriated and are currently in isolation. “

Teams that are unable to complete European Cup matches risk losing the match under the strict tournament rules.

Such a stance, however, drew criticism last season after a handful of coronavirus-related cancellations saw the clubs responsible suffer 28-0 defeats.


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