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REPORT: Lions to replay the C Cell Sharks on Saturday

By Ian Cameron

Trending on RugbyPass

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The British & Irish Lions at set to replay the C Cell Sharks on Saturday, according to respected South African journalist Brendan Nel.

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The Lions have been searching for a new opponent since the Bulls pulled out of their fixture after a Covid-19 outbreak ravaged their squad earlier this week.

Now it seems the Lions have opted to replay the C Cell Sharks, who they thumped 54 -7 last night.

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“The Lions will play the Sharks a second time in Johannesburg on Saturday. Announcement will come after Lions clear latest round of PCR tests,” wrote Nel.

Yesterday evening tour management confirmed that one player and a member of the Lions management team has tested positive for COVID-19 following PCR testing as part of the squad screening programme which took place on Wednesday 7 July.

The two individuals had a total of 12 close contacts – eight players and four staff members – all of whom have been placed into isolation at the team hotel, the Lions confirmed.

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Head coach Warren Gatland and co are now waiting on the results of a fresh round of PCR’s and are hoping that a number of currently isolating close contacts in the team will be released, with Gatland revealing last night that one of the positive tests was a ‘very weak positive’.

The Lions easily dispatched the Sharks in Johannesburg, their second comfortable victory on South African soil.

Fullback Josh Adams kept up his try-scoring blitz in a Lions jersey with a hat-trick, matched by Duhan van der Merwe and there was one each for Bundee Aki and Louis Rees-Zammit.

The Lions outscored their South African opponents eight tries to one on Wednesday with three conversions from Owen Farrell, who was outstanding after being drafted into flyhalf at the last minute, and four from his replacement Finn Russell.

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James Venter got the consolation try for the Sharks, who because of the COVID-19 concerns in South Africa were forced to move the game from their base in Durban.

The Lions led 26-0 at halftime at an empty Ellis Park in a match that was in doubt until some 90 minutes before kick-off. The chaos necessitated eight late changes in the matchday squad, which included a 7 – 1 forward split on the bench.

“It been a quite surreal day and a real challenge considering staff and players were in our rooms until two hours before kickoff, we didn’t get our results back until half an hour before that and then had to make a changes,” said Gatland after the match. “But I’m incredibly proud of the players and the performance and how they adjusted. I came away today thinking that, more than the performance and the group, I’m really proud of the togetherness of the group and how much they wanted to go out there, perform and play and wear this jersey.

“My message to the players is that let’s use it as a positive, that whatever is thrown at us we can deal with it. Nothing is going to phase us. We just had to go with the flow and adjust.”

– additional reporting AAP

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REPORT: Lions to replay the C Cell Sharks on Saturday

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