British and Irish Lions to play Sharks again after Bulls cancellation following positive Covid-19 tests

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Tom Curry in the Lions’ first game against the Sharks on Wednesday (Getty Images)
Tom Curry in the Lions’ first game against the Sharks on Wednesday (Getty Images)

The British and Irish Lions have hastily arranged a second meeting with the Sharks this Saturday following the cancellation of their fixture against the Bulls due to Covid-19. 

The game is not yet certain to go ahead, as the Lions currently have 14 people (including eight players) in self-isolation, and the whole travelling party awaiting the results of another round of testing. 

The Lions thrashed the Sharks 54-7 on Wednesday despite having to withdraw eight players from the matchday squad because of protocols, leaving them just eight fit backs. 

By then, Saturday’s fixture against the Bulls had already been called off because of positive Covid-19 tests in the Bulls camp. 

That fixture may yet be rearranged, but the Sharks – who have a clean bill of health – have been roped in to fulfil a fixture on Saturday. 

“The choice of the Cell C Sharks was dictated by the fact that they have been in a bubble, have returned negative tests throughout and were prepared to take on the fixture,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“No other team in the country could meet those conditions right now – without going into a five-day lockdown. It is not an ideal situation, but COVID-19 has made sure that we do not live in an ideal world.”

The Lions are “optimistic” that the game will go ahead. 

“We’re very grateful to the Sharks for agreeing to play us again this Saturday at Loftus Versfeld,” said Ben Calveley, managing director for the British and Irish Lions.

“We have further Covid-19 testing scheduled for today and tomorrow. The results of those tests will determine whether we will be able fulfil this fixture, but, as it stands, we are optimistic.

“We remain committed to the Tour in South Africa and determined to rise to the challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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