UPDATE: Sharks v Lions still on at 7pm BST after positive tests in tourists’ camp

Tonight's Sharks match still on pending new round of testing

The Lions squad after their 28-10 win over Japan at Murrayfield. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
The Lions squad after their 28-10 win over Japan at Murrayfield. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

A MEMBER of the British & Irish Lions management has tested positive for Covid-19. Four members of the tour party, including two players, have self-isolated after being identified as close contacts.

The match between the Sharks and the Lions at Ellis Park in Johannesburg is still going ahead, kicking off at 7pm, after a further round of  tests in the Lions camp did not return any more positives.

The positive case in the Lions camp was announced just hours after it was confirmed that the match between South Africa and Georgia on Friday has been cancelled. There have been positive cases in both the Springboks and Georgian camps.

The statement read: “The British & Irish Lions can confirm that a member of its management team has tested positive for COVID-19 following a lateral flow test as part of the Tour screening programme which took place on Wednesday 7 July.

“The individual and four close contacts – including two players and two members of staff – are being isolated and assessed at the team hotel. All members of the touring party have since been PCR tested.
“This evening’s game against the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park will still take place provided the subsequent round of PCR testing returns negative results later this afternoon. Should this be the case, the kick-off time for tonight’s game will be adjusted to 8pm (SAST) / 7pm (BST).”
Confirmation that the game would indeed go ahead was only made around 5.15pm British time. The match had originally been due to start at 7pm, but was moved to 6pm last week in order to avoid a clash with the European Championship semi-final at Wembley.
” ‘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,’ said Ben Calveley, Managing Director for the British & Irish Lions.
“‘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 best possible medical attention as we await the results of their PCR tests. Further updates will follow in due course.’ “
Scotland are due to play Georgia in Tbilisi a week on Saturday, but that game is also in doubt. The Scots have been isolating after positive cases in their squad brought about the cancellations of both last week’s ‘A’ international against England and the full Test against Romania which had been due to take place this Saturday. Even if Mike Blair’s squad return a clean bill of health this week and it is decided that they will be able to travel to Georgia, there is clearly a major question mark over the Georgian squad.


About Stuart Bathgate 1407 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.

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