The fate of the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa has taken yet another turn as it has emerged that a member of the touring management team has tested positive for COVID-19.
Two players and two other management team members have been identified as close contacts following routine lateral flow testing, with the entire travelling squad having undergone further PCR tests before this evening’s planned second match against the Sharks in Johannesburg.
The news comes amid a number of positive cases were confirmed within the South African camp, with 12 players affected and the side’s second warm-up match against Georgia – which had been planned for this weekend – cancelled.
As well as the Georgia game, the British and Irish Lions’ match with the Bulls has also been called off after positive cases were found in the latter’s squad.
At present, the Lions’ match with the Sharks is still scheduled to take place this evening, with a Lions statement saying that the results of the latest PCR testing are due to return this afternoon.
🗣 “It’s all a little bit up in the air here at the moment”@Sarraelgan provides the latest updates after the British and Irish Lions and South Africa were both impacted by coronavirus cases on Wednesday.pic.twitter.com/fGG7UbAQiB
— Sky Sports Rugby Union (@SkySportsRugby) July 7, 2021
The Lions’ Managing Director Ben Calveley said: “We have followed all necessary precautions since the start of the Tour, which included regular testing and rigorous COVID-19 counter measure planning and protocols.
“Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of the entire touring party, which is why we quickly isolated the players and staff upon receiving the news of the positive result.
“Everyone has subsequently been lateral flow and PCR tested. The Medical Advisory Group await the results of the PCR testing in order to make a decision on tonight’s game.
“The five individuals effected will be monitored closely during isolation and receive the bestlions possible medical attention as we await the results of their PCR tests.
“Further updates will follow in due course.”