Lions v Bulls called off while South Africa record 10 more positive Covid-19 tests

Several Bulls players tested positive as team were about to enter their five-day bio bubble

According to a report on the SuperSport website, several Bulls players have tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday. File photograph: Steve Haag/Getty Images

According to a report on the SuperSport website, several Bulls players have tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday. File photograph: Steve Haag/Getty Images

 

As expected the British & Irish Lions game against the Bulls, scheduled for Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday, has been postponed, with SA Rugby and the tourists looking to reschedule the game a later date.

A statement by SA Rugby also said they were exploring the possibility of accommodating “an alternative opponent” for the Lions, while the Springboks’ second Test against Georgia, scheduled for Johannesburg on Friday, also looks in serious doubt.

This follows confirmation that four Bulls players and one member of their management tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, as did four players in each of the Georgian and South African squads as well as six of the Springboks’ management, including head coach Jacques Nienaber.

“Four Bulls players and one member of management returned positive tests which, in combination with their close contacts, made it impossible for them to field a team, according to Series safety protocols,” read the statement.

“Series regulations make provision for additional midweek matches to be added on agreement between the organizations.

“Meanwhile four positive results among the Georgian team and four additional positive tests among Springbok players (Marvin Orie, Frans Steyn, Handre Pollard and Frans Malherbe) plus six among management, including head coach Jacques Nienaber, and one masseuse, have further complicated planning.

“The latest medical data from the Springbok and Georgian teams will be assessed by the Medical Advisory Group (MAG) on Wednesday morning.

“These positive results are a setback and have underlined the danger of transmissibility of the delta variant,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“The Springboks’ second Test against Georgia is now in serious doubt, but we will wait for the MAG to consider the data and we will make the final decision tomorrow.

“The priority is to maintain the integrity of the Test series and we will continue to focus on that.”

A further update will be issued on potential alternative opponents for the Lions and on the Springboks’ second Test against Georgia “as soon as the positions are finalised.”

Tomorrow’s game between the British & Irish Lions’ and the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park (kick-off: 6pm) will take place as scheduled.

There is the possibility of rescheduling the Bulls-Lions game before the first or second Test, on Tuesday 20th or Tuesday 27th of July, and it is understood that this game, like the second and third Tests, could all be switched to Cape Town.

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