Ireland contingent among Lions squad to get first coronavirus jab in London

Eight Irish players received Pfizer jab during administration day for South Africa tour

Bundee Aki at the British & Irish Lions administration day in London, where all the players received a first Pfizer vaccination  ahead of the tour to South Africa. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Bundee Aki at the British & Irish Lions administration day in London, where all the players received a first Pfizer vaccination ahead of the tour to South Africa. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

All eight Irish players chosen in the British and Irish Lions squad, along with the remainder of those selected to tour South Africa, have received their first coronavirus vaccinations ahead of the summer expedition.

Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, Conor Murray, Robbie Henshaw, Andrew Porter, Iain Henderson, Bundee Aki and Jack Conan, along with the rest of the squad, visited a site in London on Wednesday to be given the Pfizer jab. The one exception was Scotland outhalf Finn Russell, as he is based at Racing 92 in Paris and has already been vaccinated.

The UK government approved the move to protect Warren Gatland’s squad ahead of their visit to South Africa, a red list destination that is seeing a growing number of coronavirus cases. In the wider population, only people aged 30 or over are currently eligible for a jab in the UK.

The Lions hope all 37 players will get their second vaccinations by the end of their pre-tour training camp in Jersey, which begins on June 14th and leads into the warm-up game against Japan at Murrayfield on June 26th. Gatland and his management team are already advanced in their vaccination programme.

It is still not known whether the Lions will be required to quarantine for 11 nights in a government-approved hotel when they return from South Africa on August 9th. Discussions over receiving dispensation on the basis they will be operating in a bubble environment are ongoing.

Gatland’s backroom team is still to be finalised but it is understood that one of the Irish team’s video analysts, Vinny Hammond, will again be part of the Lions tour, as will the Irish team doctor, Ciarán Cosgrave.

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