Super Rugby

Super Rugby Unlocked's Covid-19 outbreak related to Stormers-Lions clash

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John Dobson (Gallo)
John Dobson (Gallo)
  • The Covid-19 outbreak that has disrupted this week's Super Rugby Unlocked preparations is related to last week's Stormers-Lions match at Newlands.
  • Four Lions players have tested positive for the virus, while the Stormers had to withdraw two players ahead of their match against the Pumas.
  • Stormers coach John Dobson says they have no positive cases, but it's imperative that safety protocols are followed.

Stormers coach John Dobson has confirmed that the Covid-19 outbreak that has disrupted this week's Super Rugby Unlocked preparations is related to his side's match against the Lions last weekend.

The Stormers were on Wednesday forced to withdraw prop Steven Kitshoff and hooker Scarra Ntubeni from their squad to face the Pumas after the players had come into contact with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus.

It followed the news from the Lions camp earlier in the day that four of their players had tested positive for the virus.

While addressing reporters in a virtual media briefing from Nelspruit, Dobson said the outbreak stems from the encounter at Newlands last Saturday.

"All our players were tested on Tuesday (20 October) and for the fifth week in a row, everybody was negative," Dobson said on Wednesday evening.

Even though all their players tested negative, Dobson said protocols needed to be followed.

"We haven't got a Covid positive test as of testing on Tuesday. [But] the protocols are pretty clear. The two medical teams involved (from the Stormers and Lions), as well as SA Rugby, review that and identify players that were within that contact requirements to be excluded.

"Unfortunately Steven (Kitshoff) and Scarra (Ntubeni) were. So, you can work it out, it is probably based on a scrum, or something like that. They are therefore excluded (in isolation) for 10 days."

Dobson said it was a complex process determining which players could be a risk, but was needed to safeguard the tournament.

"The protocol is... if a guy trains, and he's tested positive, then the medical teams have to review the training footage to see who crossed the contact threshold.

"This was obviously during a match because it was us against the Lions, we weren't training with the Lions, it was somebody who had a limited involvement in terms of game time and they reviewed it and our players who were identified were Kitsie and Scarra. They're both Covid negative at the moment.

"The Lions obviously have got four positive cases and the protocol is that they would have to go and contact trace themselves. That's the protocol and it's something we support... it's tough to lose Scarra and Kitsie, they're both a bit bewildered, they tested negative and they've been told they can't play this weekend but I think for the integrity of the tournament and the respect for the situation, we're very accepting of it."

The Lions said the players affected, who were not named, were pulled out of the squad preparing for their match against the Cheetahs in Johannesburg.

A statement from the Lions read: "The team gets tested every week. These players have been removed from the squad.All protocols have been kept and the relevant parties have been informed."

The Stormers' clash against the Pumas at Mbombela Stadium is scheduled for 19:00 on Friday, while the Lions will name their team later on Thursday.



15 Devon Williams, 14 Neil Maritz, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Wayne van der Bank, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Eddie Fouche, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (captain), 4 Darrien Landsberg, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Morgan Naude

Substitutes: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Heath Backhouse, 19 Phumzile Maqondwana, 20 Dian Badenhorst, 21 Niel Marais, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Ig Prinsloo


15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Leon Lyons

Substitutes (from): 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Jaco Coetzee, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Michal Haznar, 24 Tim Swiel, 25 Tristan Leyds

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