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Anxious wait for Springboks who will be hoping Covid-19 doesn’t derail second Test against Georgia

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It is now likely that there will be no rugby this weekend, as both the Springboks game against Georgia and the Bulls tour match against the British and Irish Lions have been hit with an outbreak of Covid-related positive tests.

Handre Pollard during the first test between the Springboks and Georgia. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – It is now likely that there will be no rugby this weekend, as both the Springboks game against Georgia and the Bulls tour match against the British and Irish Lions have been hit with an outbreak of Covid-related positive tests.

The Bulls match has been postponed after five positive tests, SA Rugby confirmed in a statement, with a view to possibly reschedule the encounter or to accommodate an alternative opponent, while both the Boks and Georgia have returned positive results in their squads.

There have been four positive results in the Georgian team and four additional positive tests among Bok players – Marvin Orie, Frans Steyn, Handre Pollard and Frans Malherbe with an additional six positives within the management squad, including coach Jacques Nienaber.

“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 (medical assessment group) 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.”

The Springboks team announcement was postponed on Monday after Bok lock Lood de Jager tested positive for Covid-19 in scheduled testing. Due to his close proximity to his teammates, the entire squad was put into self-isolation by the MAG.

The entire squad and management went for PCR tests yesterday morning and it is those tests that have indicated the development of the cluster.

It was expected that the matchday 23 to face the Georgians on the day would have possibly represented the first choice team to play the B&I Lions later this month, as a raft of overseas-based players were expected to be selected by Bok coach Jacques Nienamber.

Meanwhile, the Blue Bulls Company, Edgar Rathbone, indicated late last night that the tentative plan is to reschedule the tour match on Tuesday, June 20 – five days before the first Test between the Boks and B&I Lions.

Said Rathbone: “Obviously, firstly we need to look after the players and make sure they are safe and healthy.”

IOL Sport

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