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06th Jul 2021

Four more Springboks and coach Jacques Nienaber test positive for Covid

Patrick McCarry


South Africa Rugby has confirmed the swathe of bad news.

The British & Irish Lions’ Saturday game with the Bulls has been postponed and the Springboks squad are dealing with a severe Covid-19 outbreak in their squad and management group.

The world champions’ game against Georgia, on Friday, has been put on ice after four more squad members and six members of management tested positive. This follows second row Lood de Jager’s positive test from Monday. An SA Rugby release reads:

‘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, while 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 organisations.

‘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.’

cques Nienaber, (L) head coach of the Springboks talks to his captain, Siya Kolisi before their July 2 clash with Georgia. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“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.

The Lions’ match against the Sharks at Emirates Airline Park on Wednesday [6pm kick-off] will take place as scheduled.

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