Lions tour of South Africa rocked by Covid as warm-up clash on Saturday is POSTPONED after four Bulls players test positive leaving Warren Gatland’s plans in disarray before first Test on July 24
- There has been a Covid outbreak in the Bulls camp ahead of Saturday’s clash
- The Lions have confirmed that the warm-up match has been postponed
- It’s hoped they can reschedule the match or arrange an alternative opponent
- Four Bulls players and a member of management tested positive for Covid
- The Lions play Wednesday but will have just two more friendlies before first Test
- Covid has also crept into the Springbok camp for the second time in a week
The Lions have confirmed that their warm-up match on Saturday has been postponed due to a Covid outbreak in the Bulls camp.
The news confirms early reports that the Pretorian franchise team returned positive test results on Monday night.
A statement on the Lions’ website said the match has been put on hold with the view of hopefully arranging a new date for the game to be played or otherwise alternative opponents.
There has been a Covid outbreak in the Bulls camp – who the Lions play in Pretoria on Saturday
If cancelled, Warren Gatland’s side will have two games after Wednesday before the first Test
If they’re unable to play the Bulls or find another team to play, it will leave Warren Gatland’s side with just two games before they play South Africa after this weekend.
The statement on their website said: ‘The British & Irish Lions’ Castle Lager Lions Series match against the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday has been postponed with a view to rescheduling or to accommodate an alternative opponent.
‘Meanwhile, the Springboks’ second Test against Georgia on Friday is also being reviewed.
‘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.
‘Series regulations make provision for additional midweek matches to be added on agreement between the organizations.’
It was also confirmed that the Lions’ match on Wednesday against the Cell C Sharks will go ahead.
The statement also featured a passage from Jurie Roux, CEO of South Africa Rugby, who said their game with Georgia is in ‘serious doubt’.
It comes after four Georgian players tested positive for Covid-19, as well as an additional four for the Springboks, plus six among among management, including head coach Jacques Nienaber.
Roux said: ‘These positive results are a setback and have underlined the danger of transmissibility of the delta variant.
On Monday, Lood de Jager became the third South Africa player to test positive in a week
‘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.’
On Monday it was revealed that Covid had crept into the Springbok camp for the second time in a week with lock Lood de Jager following prop Vincent Koch and centre Sbu Nkosi as a positive case.
With the tour on a knife-edge these are all seriously worrying developments.
The Lions face the Sharks in Johannesburg – centre of the country’s third wave of the virus – on Wednesday night in their second game on tour.
The first Test against the Springboks is on July 24 in Cape Town, with the second and third Tests both in Johannesburg on July 31 and August 7 respectively.