Edgar Rathbone, Bulls chief executive. Photo: Supplied
Edgar Rathbone, Bulls chief executive. Photo: Supplied

Bulls boss on positive Covid-19 cases: Travel to and fro is where the problem comes in

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Dec 17, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - The positive Covid-19 cases in the Bulls squad are most likely to have emanated from their trip to Durban for last weekend’s Currie Cup clash against the Sharks.

Bulls chief executive Edgar Rathbone said during an online press conference on Thursday – after his team’s game against Griquas in Kimberley this weekend was cancelled due to some players and management testing positive for Covid-19 – that squads are more at risk away from home.

He made the point that the Bulls played four of their six Super Rugby Unlocked matches at Loftus Versfeld, whereas the Currie Cup sees four of their league games taking place outside Pretoria. Up to now, no other Bulls squad member had contracted coronavirus, with only flyhalf Morné Steyn being isolated for a 10-day period a few weeks ago after being exposed to someone with the virus.

Also read: Griquas v Bulls called off due to positive Covid-19 cases

“You need to do some work around it. That’s just the reality of the tournament – as soon as you travel together as a squad, stay together in a hotel and travel back as a squad, the risk is there,” Rathbone said.

“I think it shows now… In the first part of the competition, we spent four out of the six weeks at home, which makes it a bit less tricky in terms of spreads. As soon as you start travelling and staying in hotels – even if you stay in single rooms – the travel to and fro is where the problem comes in.”

Morné Steyn was isolated after being exposed to Covid-19 positive person. Photo: Gavin Barker/Backpagepix

“(There was) nobody in the (Sharks) game on Saturday that had symptoms at that stage. Per the protocols, if you test on a Tuesday, you need to do it (after) 48 hours, so that excludes the close contact from the game. So, I’m sure the Sharks would’ve gone through testing on Tuesday as well. I (am not) privy to their results.”

Also read: Sharks not going to run it out of their own half, insists Bulls coach Jake White

Rathbone was not willing to reveal the number of staff who had contracted Covid-19. “I don’t think it’s that important to know the numbers right now. Obviously it must be a substantial number for the NICD to call a game off, as we’ve seen with previous matches in the season, in the Super Rugby Unlocked,” he said, referring to the three other games called off earlier: Lions v Cheetahs, Lions v Pumas and Sharks v Stormers.

“We test on Tuesday morning, and get results on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. We did no training on Monday and Tuesday, which limited the risk of further spread.

“Per NICD (protocols), you need to do further testing, and more tests came back as positive. So, now for 10 days, the infected persons must be isolated and the squad’s in quarantine.”



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