THE Scarlets have urged European rugby bosses to reschedule their Champions Cup opener against Bristol Bears because they will have to field a side featuring youngsters.

The club currently have 32 players in quarantine in Belfast after they flew back from red-listed South Africa.

The Llanelli side have 14 fit players training at Parc y Scarlets but seven of them are on development contracts.

The seniors in Ireland will complete their 10-day isolation next Friday with the opener against Bristol on the Saturday.

If the game is not rescheduled then the Scarlets will have to find nine more players, from their academy and semi-professional Premiership clubs, to avoid a forfeit and a 28-0 defeat.

“If we were to play Bristol without the people who are in Ulster right now there are four or five positions where we physically do not have a body to fill that position,” said Scarlets executive chairman Simon Muderack.

South Wales Argus:

“We are not coming out of quarantine until December 10 and a lot of these boys in Belfast haven’t played a game of rugby since October 22. EPCR has got to look at player welfare here.

“Without the 32 players in quarantine, we’d have to play development players and academy players – some of them just out of school in their first season of senior rugby – as well as semi-pro players, who juggle their rugby commitments with full-time work and put them up against a quality side like Bristol. That wouldn’t be good for the integrity of the competition or those individuals.”

European Professional Club Rugby have said they are monitoring the situation but there is a lack of space in the schedules of the English Premiership and French Top 14.

“Ideally, we would have been granted a sporting exemption which has been done in the past so that the team, whilst remaining in isolation, could have continued to train and prepare for upcoming fixtures.

“At the moment, the best the players can do in their hotel in Belfast is exercise as individuals within the confines of their own rooms as well as being allowed a short time slot outside to walk around in the car park.

“That is no preparation for a high-intensity game of European rugby. In our world, physical capacity is everything, if players are ‘under done’ it can be catastrophic for careers and have a direct increase to risk of injury.

“The Scarlets have a proud history in European competition and we have been looking forward to testing ourselves against two sides in Bristol and Bordeaux who have been up there among the best on the continent in recent years. It is hugely disappointing that we will not be allowed to do that on a level playing field.”

Cardiff kick off their campaign against champions Toulouse at the Arms Park and have said they intend to fulfil the fixture with a makeshift side.