Stormers and former Wales centre Jamie Roberts made the decision to leave South Africa last night, as the country got set for a nationwide lockdown.
The Coronavirus has spread rapidly since first hitting South Africa, with over 1000 cases already and the first two deaths were reported today, in Cape Town, where Roberts was based with the Stormers.
He played 10 matches for the Super Rugby side, and while the season is in limbo, the 33-year-old had wanted to stay but soon realised that the lockdown could go on for a while, so chose to head home to be with family.
“Have loved doing what I love with the @dhlstormers lads this season. Been brilliant to experience super rugby at Newlands and beyond,” he said.
“Not too optimistic we’ll play again this season but look forward to getting back out to SA once life and rugby restarts. Best wishes to everyone in Cape Town and in SA during the lockdown and beyond 👍🏼”
Unforgettable 10 weeks. Cape Town a special place. Have loved playing alongside @THESTORMERS lads at Newlands and beyond!
About to board the last flight out of SA before the lockdown begins at midnight. Best we’re home in the UK during this unprecedented time. Be back ASAP 😊 pic.twitter.com/S1pexPDwFF
— Jamie Roberts (@Jamiehuwroberts) March 26, 2020
Roberts, a qualified doctor, recently gave up his Cardiff flat for a NHS doctor.
“It’s better that the flat is used by people in need,” Roberts told BBC Radio Wales Sport. “I managed to get an A&E doctor in there as of Friday, someone who’s working on the front line with the NHS in Cardiff.
“I had a few cancellations on Airbnb. I’ve got a flat I stay in when I’m back in Cardiff. There’s going to be a lot of NHS workers out there who won’t want to be going from hospital to family and putting their families at risk and so they’re going to need accommodation.
“So I guess anyone out there who has property which is empty; I’m sure there are plenty with Airbnb cancellations.
“So I guess it’s about encouraging people to try and do the same as well. The NHS needs all the help it can get in these times.”
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