The shocking delay of the Sharks vs. Ulster and Lions vs. Glasgow Warriors matches due to a gastroepidemic among the Ulster and Glasgow players has shocked the United Rugby Championship.
In order to prepare for their round six games against local competition, the teams from Belfast and Glasgow, respectively, have been stationed north of Durban. However, almost every player in both squads has become sick.
The rapid epidemic’s cause has not been stated by the URC, but early conjecture points to issues the broader Durban shoreline is facing as a result of sewage spilling into the sea from rivers.
This is only a hunch, but how else might more than 50 guys who are sleeping in various hotels fall ill at the same time?
All the URC has to say at this juncture is that neither Glasgow Warriors nor Ulster are able to deploy entire playing squads due to gastrointestinal illnesses.
The United Rugby Championship has decided to postpone the matches “in order to maintain a duty of care towards the players involved and given the medical advice obtained from all relevant parties.”
The league will now look at possible dates to reschedule the games and will provide an update as needed.
The Ulster game was scheduled as part of the Sharks’ annual SharkFest, and an afternoon and evening of family entertainment was planned but now has to be canceled. This is a major blow for the Sharks.
Additionally, this was one of the rare contests in which the Sharks were able to field all of their Springboks, and they are now bidding their players goodbye as they report to the Springbok training camp the following week.