British and Irish Lions: Concern over tour opener after opponents' positive Covid tests

Concerns are growing over the first match of the British and Irish Lions tour after members of their opponents’ squad tested positive for Covid-19.

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland. Picture: Dan Sheridan/Pool/Getty Images

Warren Gatland’s tourists are scheduled to play the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg on July 3.

The Emirates Lions, who competed in Super Rugby until last year, were due to face DHL Stormers in a Rainbow Cup SA match in Cape Town on Saturday. However, the game has been cancelled due to the positive tests.

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Organisers are hoping the decision to scrap the game will minimise the risk to the British and Irish Lions match at Emirates Airline Park.

“The Emirates Lions have followed all protocols and taken all the appropriate steps,” said Jurie Roux, chief executive of SA Rugby.

“While the cancellation is unfortunate, their approach ensures that the risk of cancellation of their match against the British & Irish Lions in the Castle Lager Lions Series on 3 July is well managed.”

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As per the competition rules, Stormers have been awarded four points.

A statement from Rainbow Cup organisers, Pro14 Rugby, said: “The PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA match between the Emirates Lions and DHL Stormers, scheduled for Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, has been cancelled in line with COVID-19 protocols.

“The decision was taken as part of prescribed precautions advised by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) to limit the risk of further infection in the rugby community.

“The decision was triggered on Friday following receipt of positive results from scheduled testing of the Emirates Lions squad. As determined by the competition rules, the DHL Stormers will be awarded four log points because of the cancellation.”

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