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Wednesday's Lions match versus the Sharks is ON!

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Wednesday night’s Lions match versus the Sharks will go ahead despite the revelation earlier in the day that a member of Warren Gatland’s management team has tested positive for Covid-19 following a lateral flow test as part of the tour screening programme.


The positive resulted in the unnamed individual and four close contacts – two players and two other members of staff – being isolated and assessed at the team hotel while all members of the touring party were PCR tested.

A decision on whether the Sharks match would go ahead at Johannesburg hinged on this subsequent round of PCR testing returning negative results later in the afternoon and to assist with the time needed to do all these checks, the planned kick-off time was delayed by an hour to 7pm UK/Irish time (8pm SAST).

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After those checks were carried out, it was confirmed less than two hours before kick-off that the match was definitely on.

Earlier, Lions managing director Ben Calveley had said: “We have followed all necessary precautions since the start of the tour, which included regular testing and rigorous Covid-19 countermeasure 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 news that an outbreak had affected the Lions had arrived hot on the heels of the Wednesday morning decision to cancel next Friday’s Springboks versus Georgia match in Johannesburg. Four positive results were found among the Georgia team along with four additional positive tests amongst the Springboks players (Marvin Orie, Frans Steyn, Handre Pollard and Frans Malherbe) plus six among management, including head coach Jacques Nienaber, and one masseuse.


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