FILE - Rassie Erasmus looks on during a training session. Photo: Mark R.Cristino/EPA
FILE - Rassie Erasmus looks on during a training session. Photo: Mark R.Cristino/EPA

Springboks in limbo as they await decision on Georgia Test

By Mike Greenaway Time of article published Jun 28, 2021

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DURBAN - Just four days away from the Springboks’ eagerly-awaited return-to-play Test match against Georgia, the game is in jeopardy as the anxious Bok camp await a decision from the Lions Series Medical Advisory Group after three players tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday.

After a short break following a three-week training camp in Bloemfontein the Boks reconvened in Johannesburg on Sunday to prepare for Georgia on Friday night in Pretoria but their preparations are now in limbo following the positive results returned by Vincent Koch, Herschel Jantjies and Sbu Nkosi.

An online press conference scheduled for 1.30 pm today has been cancelled as the Boks await a recommendation from the Medical Advisory Group (MAG), the Springbok management said in a statement on Monday.

The Boks were also due to train at St Stithians College this afternoon but that could also be canceled pending the MAG decision.

In terms of the Lockdown 4 regulations installed last night by the government, the match itself is allowed to take place but under strict rules. Besides the obvious ban on spectators, the government gazette says “only the required number of players, match officials, support staff and medical crew required for the sports match are allowed at the venue.”

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That would mean only the match 23 can be present at Loftus Versfeld and the balance of the 45-man Bok squad would remain in their hotel.

The Springboks have not played a match since November 2019, so if this warm-up match against Georgia is canceled — and there is a second Test between the teams scheduled for next Friday in Johannesburg — it would be a severe blow to the Boks’ chances of beating the British and Irish Lions, who arrived this morning in Johannesburg.

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The Lions’ first tour match is on Saturday at Ellis Park against the local Lions team.

The Lions flew out of the UK last night amid widespread calls for the Johannesburg tour bubble to be abandoned in favour of the entire tour taking place in the Cape Town bio bubble.

Mike Greenaway

IOL Sport

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