Lions forced to rejig team for Sharks game after Covid outbreak in camp

One player and one member of management test positive and 12 close contacts are also isolating

A British and Irish Lions player and a member of the management team have tested positive for Covid-19.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

A British and Irish Lions player and a member of the management team have tested positive for Covid-19. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

The British & Irish Lions have confirmed that this evening’s game against the Sharks in Johannesburg, which had been delayed by an hour to 7pm, will go ahead.

This followed one player and a member of the Lions management testing positive for Covid-19 which resulted in those two individuals along with 12 close contacts – eight players and four staff members – being placed in isolation.

These disruptions resulted in several late changes to the Lions team, with Liam Williams and Anthony Watson dropping out and Josh Adams coming in at fullback and Louis Rees Zammit on the right wing. Ali Price and Owen Farrell formed a new halfback partnership in place of Gareth Davies and Dan Biggar.

The pack remains unchanged, but the replacements Tadhg Beirne, Conor Murray, Stuart Hogg and Chris Harris all dropped out of the matchday squad, with Maro Itoje, Hamish Watson, Toby Faletau and Finn Russell promoted to what has become a 7-1 split on the bench.

A statement by the British & Irish Lions can confirmed that “one player and a member of the Lions management team has tested positive for Covid-19 following PCR testing as part of the tour screening programme which took place on Wednesday 7 July .

“The two individuals had a total of 12 close contacts – eight players and four staff members – all of whom have been placed into isolation at the team hotel.

“All other members of the touring party returned negative results following PCR testing earlier today.

“After consultation with the Medical Advisory Group (MAG), this evening’s game against the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park will still take place at the revised time of 8pm (SAST)/7pm (BST).

You can follow the game live on our Live Blog.

BRITISH & LIONS (v Cell C Sharks): Josh Adams (Cardiff, Wales); Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester, Wales), Elliot Daly (Saracens, England), Bundee Aki (Connacht, Ireland), Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland); Owen Farrell (Saracens, England), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland); Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland); Iain Henderson (capt) (Ulster, Ireland), Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales); Josh Navidi (Cardiff Rugby, Wales), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England), Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England).

Replacements: Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales), Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster, Ireland), Maro Itoje (Saracens, England), Jack Conan (Leinster, Ireland), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh, Scotland), Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland), Taulupe Faletau (Bath, Wales).

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