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South Surrey rugby team stuck in Europe as game, plans cancel amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Mar 15, 2020 at 2:20 pm PST

(Courtesy: Adam Roberts)

A South Surrey rugby team have had their game plans shattered this week

Earl Marriott Secondary senior boys rugby team was planning on playing games all throughout Europe this month

But with the spread of COVID-19 nearly all their games have been cancelled

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — A high school rugby team from Surrey has had their dream trip to England turn in to a nightmare.

After winning the provincial championship, the Earl Marriott Secondary senior boys’ rugby team flew to London to compete against some of the best high school teams in the world.

But as the school’s director of rugby Adam Roberts tells NEWS 1130, the situation changed dramatically during their journey overseas.

“Everyone is excited, and nothing was coming at us,” he says. “Then, boom. The World Health Organization pops up on alert that they declared (COVID-19) a pandemic.”

By the time the team got to London, they could only play one game before everything else was cancelled because of the outbreak.

Plans to visit historic sites around Europe also had to be scrapped.

The team was able to secure flights last minute flight homes through the U.S. for Monday, but with the extended travel ban in place, it’s not clear if they will be allowed to fly.

“The airlines just don’t have the capacity to deal with what’s going on. Everybody is converging in the U.K. and London, so the airport is just slammed, and it’s just been chaos,” he says.

On Saturday, Canadians abroad were told by the federal government to come back home while commercial planes are still available.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne tweeted the new recommendation, a step up from previous advice, which urged Canadians to rethink non-essential travel outside of the country.

“We recommend that Canadian travellers return to Canada via commercial means while they remain available,” his tweet reads.


-With files from Tarnjit Parmar and Monika Gul