Scarlets have announced they will forfeit their upcoming game vs Bristol Bears in the European Champions Cup due to the impact that Covid-19 has had on the squad and players available – as most of the squad quarantine in Belfast.

Scarlets had originally called for European tournament bosses to postpone the match to a later date, having been caught up in the emergence of the Omicron Covid variant whilst out in South Africa for their United Rugby Championship games.

As of now, Scarlets only have 14 fit available players – which isn’t enough to field a team.

The players who are in quarantine leave isolation just one day before the match vs Bristol – and concerns regarding player welfare has led to the decision of conceding the game.

There were complications in the enquiry of borrowing players from other clubs such as the Ospreys too, and whilst the rivals were prepared to help – it wasn’t to go ahead.

Bristol Bears will be awarded a 28-0 victory for the Scarlets forfeit.

Scarlets will have to accept a 28-0 loss for not playing the match vs Bristol

Chairman Simon Muderack said; “It is a decision we haven’t taken lightly,”

“This is a great fixture between two great clubs, which supporters, players and staff on both sides were all looking forward to.”

“The welfare of our players has to be our priority and following discussions with our staff it was felt that there was too much risk to ask the players currently in quarantine to play a game of this magnitude and intensity just a day after coming out of quarantine.

“You have to remember, the squad have been in isolation since the news of this Omicron variant first emerged when they were still in Durban so it will be something like 15 days in all.

“Also, a lot of the players haven’t played since the Benetton game on October 22. As a club we have a duty of care to our players.”

Further, he adds: “We did look into the possibility of registering players from other regions and we have been grateful for the positive response from Ospreys and Dragons.

“But, any players we did loan would effectively be ‘cup-tied’ and become Scarlets players for the pool stages of the tournament, which has made that option a challenge as well.

“With the integrity of the competition in mind, we felt we were unable to put together a competitive matchday 23 that would be able to take the field against the Bears.”

Scarlets are now due to face Bordeaux-Begles on Sunday, 19th December