Coronavirus prompts Welsh legend to stick with SA

Jamie Roberts of the Stormers during the Super Rugby match between Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium on March 14, 2020 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)

Jamie Roberts could’ve opted not to renew his visa to return home, but the slight prospect of play in the coming months made him stay.

Welsh centre Jamie Roberts has opted to stay with the Stormers despite having to renew his visa.

There were reports suggesting Roberts would return to the UK to renew his visa which would’ve meant he would’ve been unable to travel back to South Africa due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions of travel in place.

However, Stormers coach John Dobson said on Tuesday that the 33-year-old has decided to stay in Cape Town for the time being.

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“No, he is not (going back). It was on the cards because he had to get his visa renewed. Obviously, if he flew tonight, he would not be able to return. So he has decided to stay,” Dobson told reporters at the Stormers’ High Performance Centre (HPC) in Bellville.

Dobson said Roberts has until the end of April to renew his visa, but would do so at a later stage.

“He was going to use the fact that we weren’t playing this weekend. He would have had to fly tonight because of our own international travel ban. So he won’t be flying for a while now.

“If Super Rugby resumes before June, I am sure he will play for us. I know that he had to go and get his visa by the end of April. If he can’t go by then, then he is entitled to return home. In which case, he would not return to us because he would not be allowed.”

Roberts, who played 94 Tests for Wales and three for the British and Irish Lions, was drafted in by the Stormers this season as a replacement for Damian de Allende.

The Stormers also confirmed that there will be no team training amid the suspension of Super Rugby due to the coronavirus.

However, players are allowed to gym at the HPC and practice their skills on the field.

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