JAMIE Roberts' large shoulders would have sagged at the end of last week when he learnt the outcome of a coronavirus test that has led to the Dragons becoming a Guinness PRO14 guinea pig.

The Wales centre had hoped he would be helping preparations for the return to action against the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, a fixture that would have been too soon for his debut.

Instead he is in isolation at his Cardiff home and has watched on while his new teammates, who tested negative last week, waited for the green light from the latest batch that were carried out in Ystrad Mynach on Tuesday.

This is a taste of what is to come – nobody will be able to say on any given Monday that an encounter will definitely be going ahead the following weekend.

That's fine when it's finishing a campaign with two rounds of derby action that, in Wales at least, have a pre-season feel.

It's not so easy in a cross-border competition when points matter in the race for the play-offs.

South Wales Argus:

The PRO14 has three teams from the Republic of Ireland, one from Northern Ireland, two in Scotland, four in Wales, two in Italy and two in South Africa.

The ambitious plan is to kick off the 2020/21 season on the first weekend of October but the logistics of the league are going to provide a splitting headache.

Just this week it was announced that South Africa women will not tour England in September because of coronavirus travel restrictions, scuppering hopes of two T20s and four ODIs.

The fixture list will be manic with PRO14 games sitting alongside a jam-packed international schedule as Unions attempt to raise funds after the financial hit from coronavirus.

"We've just got to be careful that we manage our group," said Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan. "From some of the potential fixture lists that I've seen, it's a pretty congested period both internationally and domestically up until January."

There will be little wiggle room but we have to accept the likelihood that some fixtures will have to be postponed because of the challenges of the pandemic.

That has happened so far in Super League, it has happened in the Scottish Premiership, it has happened in Ligue 1 in France.

Rugby will have to get used to the uncertainty because the situation that Roberts and the Dragons have experienced is sure to be repeated in the coming weeks and months.

In fact, Munster have already been going through it but their academy player doesn't quite have the profile of a 94-times capped Wales international and double Lions tourist.

The young Irishman has been self-isolating along with six players who came into close contact with him (I understand something similar happened with the Dragons and Roberts).

There is just no way that a bio-secure bubble, one enjoyed by the England, West Indies, Ireland and Pakistan cricket teams for televised games, can be created.

South Wales Argus:

Rugby teams will do all that they can in training to minimise the risk – cleaning equipment, keeping their distance from teammates, eating and showering away from the base, using their own water bottles and handwash.

"I don't think there's much more we can do, I think it's almost physically impossible to do much more than we're doing," said Exeter boss Rob Baxter before his side's Premiership resumption.

But professional players have to live their lives; habits have been drummed into them but they still risk getting the virus when nipping around doing their chores or dealing with emergencies.

Hull FC chairman Adam Pearson suggested that their outbreak, which has led to the postponement of Super League games, was caused by a player visiting hospital with their sick child.

That being said, perhaps Roberts' positive test is a timely reminder for those players who seem to be letting things slip a little and getting a little close to friends, judging by social media posts.

A warning to them if they don't want to lose some freedom (as if annoying Ryan isn't scary enough) – NRL teams have strict biosecurity protocols and 10 Brisbane Broncos players were slapped with fines for having a punch lunch at the start of August.

Dealing with outbreaks will be a part of the 2020/21 rugby season and league chiefs, whether PRO14, Premiership or Top14, will have been working out a policy for postponements. If not then they have been burying their heads in the sand.

Coaches like to plan ahead, rotating their squad and resting, but plenty of spanners will be lobbed in the works until there is a vaccine.

Sadly, the nature of the PRO14 makes it hard to expect things to go according to plan.