Lions sweating on Covid-19 test results

Rudolf Straeuli introducing Francois Pienaar during the Hollard Sport Industry Awards 2019 at the Deck at The Wanderers on November 22, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Rudolf Straeuli introducing Francois Pienaar during the Hollard Sport Industry Awards 2019 at the Deck at The Wanderers on November 22, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

The Lions are sweating on the results of their latest Covid-19 tests‚ which were conducted on Tuesday.

The Ellis Park-based team had their Super Rugby Unlocked match against the Cheetahs called off on Saturday due to the number of positive tests in their camp.

Four players tested positive in the wake of their round two clash against the Stormers while a total of nine were asked to isolate and were not eligible for selection for the match against the Cheetahs. Two more tested positive on the eve of the match against the Cheetahs which forced SA Rugby to pull the plug on the fixture last Saturday.

The Lions play Griquas at Ellis Park on Friday evening but that match is very much in the balance. The squad was again tested on Tuesday and the team could have another home match called off if more positive tests are registered.

Lions chief executive Rudolf Straeuli said a decision on whether Friday's game would go ahead was likely on Wednesday.

“We'll just have to wait. The tests were done today (Tuesday) and the results will be sent to the NICD National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). Government will then engage SA Rugby and they will come up with proposals and we will be directed by that‚” said Straeuli.

He said should the match be called off the options available to them would be similar to that they had last weekend.

“We will have to enter consultations with Griquas‚ like we have to in the case of the Cheetahs to see if we can reschedule‚” said Straeuli.

As things stand their match against Griquas is officially still on but it is difficult to see how they would get the green light this week if the same group of players‚ infected or not‚ is still declared off limits.

If Friday's match is also called off and cannot be rescheduled‚ along with the one against the Cheetahs‚ it will effectively rule the Lions out of the race for the title.

The Lions lost away to the Sharks and the Stormers in the first two weekends of Super Rugby Unlocked. They would have hoped their four consecutive home matches would have presented them the opportunity to drag themselves back into contention but that now looks unlikely.

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