British & Irish Lions: Tour game vs Cell C Sharks hit by positive Covid test

Lions tour rocked as management team member tests positive and four others must isolate

The Lions warm up during the British and Irish Lions captain's run at Emirates Airline Park. The squad has been hit by Covid.
The Lions warm up during the British and Irish Lions captain's run at Emirates Airline Park. The squad has been hit by Covid.

The British & Irish Lions have seen their Test preparations rocked after a member of their management team tested positive for Covid-19.

The Lions, who are due to play Cell C Sharks in a tour game on Wednesday night, have now PCR tested every member of their touring party to see if the game can go ahead.

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A Lions statement said: “We can confirm that a member of its management team has tested positive for COVID-19 following a lateral flow test as part of the Tour screening programme which took place on Wednesday 7 July.

The British & Irish Lions squad.

“The individual and four close contacts – including two players and two members of staff – are being isolated and assessed at the team hotel. All members of the touring party have since been PCR tested.

“This evening’s game against the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park will still take place provided the subsequent round of PCR testing returns negative results later this afternoon. Should this be the case, the kick-off time for tonight’s game will be adjusted to 8pm (SAST) / 7pm (BST).”

The news comes just 24 hours after the English Cricket Board were forced to pick an entirely new squad to take on Pakistan after a raft of positive tests in the first-choice squad.

The latest developments are a huge setback to the tour’s prospects. The Lions are due to face South Africa in a three-Test series, starting on July 24.

The Springboks’ scheduled warm-up Test against Georgia on Friday, meanwhile, has been cancelled because of Covid-19 infections in both camps, SA Rugby announced.

"We have followed all necessary precautions since the start of the Tour, which included regular testing and rigorous COVID-19 counter measure planning and protocols," said Ben Calveley, managing director for the British & Irish Lions.

"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 five individuals effected will be monitored closely during isolation and receive the best possible medical attention as we await the results of their PCR tests."