Covid-positive tests shouldn’t derail Boks’ Test against Georgia - Erasmus
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Cape Town - The Springboks’ first Test against Georgia, scheduled to take place in Pretoria on Friday, shouldn’t be affected by the positive Covid-19 tests returned by three players at the weekend.
That is the view of SA director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, who addressed the media alongside Bok head coach Jacques Nienaber on Sunday after Sbu Nkosi, Herschel Jantjies and Vincent Koch returned positive results when the team assembled on Saturday.
The Springboks subsequently cancelled Sunday’s training session in Johannesburg as a precautionary measure. The trio were tested by means of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing procedures on arrival at the team base.
Speaking at a media briefing on Sunday, Erasmus said he believed the match was “by no means threatened” and that they would be well-equipped to field a match-day squad should there be any further disruptions brought on by more positive tests.
He also ruled out any negligence, saying that all the players and management had adhered to strict measures during their preparation for the upcoming British & Irish Lions series.
The Boks completed a three-week conditioning camp in Bloemfontein, which included Covid testing three times a week.
While domestic rugby was also impacted by the pandemic earlier this season, any further disruption to the Bok camp would be much more significant.
With the Boks’ last international action coming during their World Cup glory in November 2019, it would present quite a hurdle for their preparation for the series against the Lions if Friday’s Test against Georgia doesn’t go ahead.
Earlier this year, both the Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup competitions were impacted by Covid, with a number of fixtures in both competitions being called off or initially rescheduled.
Neither of those situations or competitions can be compared to the Boks’ international schedule, and while there are more than enough players to fill whatever positions open due to positive cases, it’s not an ideal situation, especially considering that the Bok coaches will want to get their first-choice players ready and tested by the time they tackle the Lions.
The Lions arrive in South Africa on Monday.