The match was due to be played in Pretoria on Saturday but could yet be rearranged. And South Africa's second Test with Georgia this week has been cancelled
Bulls v Lions match postponed due to Covid
The British & Irish Lions’ match against the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday has been postponed. Four Bulls players and one member of management returned positive tests which, in combination with their close contacts, made it impossible for them to field a team, according to safety protocols.
It’s hoped the match will either be rescheduled or an alternative opponent found for the Lions, for whom this is already their shortest-ever tour. There are only six games scheduled in total before the first Test on 24 July, with the Bulls game due to be the fourth.
Series regulations make provision for additional midweek matches to be added on agreement between the organisations.
In a further blow, the Springboks’ second Test against Georgia on Friday has been cancelled. That follows four positive results among the Georgian team and four additional positive tests among Springbok players (Marvin Orie, Frans Steyn, Handre Pollard and Frans Malherbe) plus six among management, including head coach Jacques Nienaber and one masseuse.
The latest medical data from the Springbok and Georgian teams was assessed by the Medical Advisory Group (MAG) on Wednesday morning.
“These positive results have underlined the danger of transmissibility of the delta variant,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. “In the context of the loss of life and economic damage that Covid and this third wave are wreaking, the cancellation of a rugby match is pretty trivial.
“But it’s still a major disappointment for the many stakeholders who have invested so much time, energy and resources into making these matches happen.
“I especially feel for the fans and players, and for our visitors from Georgia who travelled here at relatively short notice to take on the series, which has now been cut short. We’ve not been able to interact with them because of the bio-secure environments, but I’d like to thank them publicly for their support.
“We continue to plan for the Springboks’ re-emergence from isolation and the completion of the Test series. In the short term we wish a speedy recovery for those who’ve been infected.”
The enlarged Springbok squad’s travel plans are now being reviewed. A South Africa ‘A’ team is scheduled to play the Lions at Cape Town Stadium next Wednesday (14 July).
The Lions’ match against the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park today (7 July) will take place as scheduled. Read our preview of the Sharks v Lions match here.
This latest news comes hot on the heels of another breach, with the Springboks in isolation after positive Covid test – lock Lood de Jager tested positive for the virus following last Friday’s game against Georgia.
Warren Gatland’s side have made a winning start, defeating Japan and Sigma Lions on the previous two Saturdays. But with so little time to put together a team to take on the reigning world champions, the postponed fixture against the Bulls will put added strain on the tour.
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