Super Rugby

Lions-Griquas clash hinges on Tuesday's round of Covid-19 testing

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Lions in Super Rugby
Lions in Super Rugby
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  • The Lions' Super Rugby Unlocked fixture this weekend against Griquas being fulfilled will depend on Tuesday's round of Covid-19 testing.
  • Those results should provide a clearer picture on whether the virus has spread or been curtailed within the squad.
  • Griquas experienced a similar situation in pre-season, with coach Scott Mathie highlighting that the real headache occurs after the players recover.

The Lions' Super Rugby Unlocked fixture against Griquas this weekend will hinge on Tuesday's weekly and mandatory round of Covid-19 testing.

Following the National Institute for Communicable Diseases' (NICD) prompting at the weekend, SA Rugby had to postpone the franchise's match against the Cheetahs "to limit the risk of further infection in the rugby community".

The decision was based on two more positive results being received during an additional round of testing on Friday after the four cases from earlier in the week.

That takes the current tally of Lions players being in self-isolation to 11.

This week's tests should provide an indication on whether the virus tentacles have extended or been curtailed on the rest of the squad.

It's understood that all the currently available squad members reported for duty at Ellis Park on Monday.

Dr Rob Collins, the team's doctor, last week noted that the decision to designate Tuesdays as test days was carefully considered as "timing, instead of frequency" is key.

"A lot of people misunderstand how this works," he said.

"If you, for example, come from a funeral, you can't come away from it, do a test and be fine. I might've been exposed to someone but for a period I'm not infectious or don't even have the disease - the incubation period.

"That time varies, around three days. Then you're infectious without symptoms, another two to three days. Then there's a time where you're infectious and the various tests are most accurate. Ideally then, you want to test five days after symptoms started, which is around seven days after actual infection and 10 days after the exposure.

"Blanketly just doing tests actually confuses the issue."

Ironically, the Lions' opponents know exactly what they're going through.

A few weeks before the pre-season matches commenced in late September, Griquas had a small cluster outbreak that hampered their preparations.

"It was tough but we kept it at bay," Scott Mathie, the Peacock Blues' coach, told Sport24 earlier.

"We were just lucky that it didn't occur once the competition commenced."

They real headache for the Lions is how much the self-isolation period will put back the players' match fitness.

"The problem with the isolation period is that you're pretty much out of circulation for at least two weeks," said Mathie.

"You might be able to do a few exercises within a confined space but when you return to training, you're almost back to square one in terms of contact training. Depth will be tested in this domestic campaign." 

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