The United Rugby Championship has, in the last two weeks, confirmed that Cardiff will be facing the Lions and Stormers in South Africa at the end of next month after travel restrictions were eased.
With South Africa removed from the United Kingdom’s red list, allowing travellers to go to the country and for the vaccinated to return without quarantine, a contingency plan to stage the away games in Italy has been scrapped and instead the Blue and Blacks will fly to Johannesburg for the first game of the two-week trip on the last weekend of November.
That will see us face the Lions at Ellis Park before heading to Cape Town and it’s stadium for a meeting with the Stormers on the first weekend of December.
Dai Young will be sweating on the availability of some key players though as the first game comes just a week after Wales face Australia in the final game of the autumn internationals, with the director of rugby effectively ruling out any Cardiff players involved in that test match from travelling to South Africa ahead of the first game.
Any other Blue and Blacks in the wider Wales squad would be considered on a player-by-player basis having been part of the national team bubble for the previous five weeks, with the likelihood of any players flying out solely for the second game unlikely with the Heineken Champions Cup campaign starting immediately upon return.
Josh Navidi and Rey Lee-Lo are also likely to be missing with the back rower definitely ruled out after undergoing surgery on his shoulder, while the centre will go before a disciplinary panel after the red card received against the Dragons. Any suspension would rule him out of the South Africa trip.
Finally, it is also the case that any unvaccinated members of the squad would have to isolate for 10 days on their return to Wales, ruling them out of the game against Toulouse the following weekend if they travelled.