JOHANNESBURG – The Emirates Lions underwent a new batch of Covid-19 testing on Tuesday as the viral cluster continues to undermine their preparation for this weekend’s match against the Griquas.
The union further revealed that the team was sent home after the test this morning, forgoing a team practice session as a precaution but would be training individually from home, as well as engaging with the coaching staff and their teammates online.
The Lions will know the results of their tests on Wednesday.
As of this morning, 11 players have been withdrawn from the team, including six players who have tested positive, of which a small number have developed symptoms.
All the affected players have been placed in self-isolation and will quarantine for at least 10 days, depending on if they present symptoms and the severity of their illness, if any.
The identity of the 11 players withdrawn has not been revealed but it is almost a certainty that the greater majority of them will not be considered for selection this week.
A decision on when the team will be announced for the Super Rugby Unlocked round 4 match against Griquas has yet to be made.
Elsewhere, it has been almost a fortnight since the news first broke that veteran hulking forward Willem Alberts would be withdrawn from the team after coming into close contact with a positive case of Covid-19.
His self-isolation should come to an end this week, once again depending on whether he has shown any symptoms, and it also remains to be seen if he will be eligible for Friday’s match against the Kimberley-based side (7pm kick-off).
The Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked match between Emirates Lions and Toyota Cheetahs scheduled for Emirates Airlines Park this afternoon has been called off in line with COVID-19 protocols.
— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) October 24, 2020
Meanwhile, it also remained unclear today whether the encounter against the Cheetahs this past weekend has been cancelled or postponed.
On Saturday, after two Lions players tested positive for the virus before the game, the encounter was called off by SA Rugby as instructed by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases’s protocols. It is not yet known, however, if the match has been officially cancelled, in which case both the Lions and Cheetahs will be awarded a draw and two points each.
A postponement, meanwhile, would result in SA Rugby seeking an alternative date in the foreseeable future to reschedule the match.