Super Rugby

Lions missing 9 players following Covid-19 outbreak

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The Lions went down 23-17 to the Stormers at Newlands on 17 October 2020.
The Lions went down 23-17 to the Stormers at Newlands on 17 October 2020.
Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
  • The Lions will have nine players unavailable for the Super Rugby Unlocked clash with the Cheetahs this weekend due to Covid-19 protocols.
  • The majority though are currently only being self-isolated as contacts of the four players that did test positive earlier this week.
  • Two players have developed symptoms though Dr Rob Collins, team doctor, stated they're already in a recovery phase.

The Lions coaching staff will have to ponder the composition of their team for Saturday's Super Rugby Unlocked meeting with Cheetahs at Ellis Park as they'll have no less than nine players unavailable due to Covid-19 protocols.

Dr Rob Collins, team doctor, on Thursday provided more clarity on the situation following an announcement on Wednesday that four players had tested positive for the virus during the mandatory round of testing earlier in the week.

Despite the apparent increase in players being withdrawn from consideration for selection, much is down to mere precaution.

"We had four positive tests," said Collins.

"Of those four, two players have subsequently shown symptoms and the rest of the players who are withdrawn were contacts of the players of the players who tested positive."

Ironically, given the understandable amount of interest that the initial news elicited, Collins noted that the two symptomatic players are already on the mend and that the outbreak is potentially less clustered than initially thought.

"Their symptoms are basically recovered by now. I also suspect a few of those positive tests are actually false positive tests," he said.

Collins also confirmed that the Stormers duo of Steven Kitshoff and Scarra Ntubeni had to be withdrawn because they came into contact with a Lions counterpart that became symptomatic after the match.

"One player developed symptoms on Monday, which is in the 48-hour window after the match against the Stormers," he said.

"We then had to do a video review and determine the contacts with the player concerned. I reviewed the video footage together with my Stormers colleague and Clint Redhead, SA Rugby's head of medical to determine who was in contact with whom and who needed to be quarantined.

"For now, the players will be in self-isolation for 10 days depending on factors such as symptoms."

There have been rumours of some players at other unions exhibiting symptoms but testing negative, though Collins said no such situation had been present at Ellis Park.

"It's difficult to pinpoint where symptoms are related to a Covid-19 infection. There are false positives and negatives. We try to be as diligent as possible within our protocols," said Collins. 

The Lions will announce their team for the Cheetahs clash later on Thursday.

Kick-off is at 16:30 on Saturday.   

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