Bulls-Pumas moved as SA Rugby calls for ‘extreme caution’ around Covid-19
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CAPE TOWN – The Bulls’ Super Rugby Unlocked victory parade has been set back by a day after their final match against the Pumas was moved to Saturday.
SA Rugby announced on Tuesday that Friday’s game, scheduled for a 7pm kickoff at Loftus Versfeld, “has been pushed back until Saturday, 21 November for player welfare reasons”, with a kickoff time still to be confirmed.
This development came as a result of several positive Covid-19 test results among Pumas players last week, which saw their clash against the Lions at Ellis Park also postponed.
While there was still a possibility of the match being replayed, it would be a surprise if that does happen, considering the Lions-Cheetahs match earlier in the tournament was cancelled outright.
And earlier on Tuesday, SA Rugby confirmed the Sharks-Stormers match at Kings Park on Saturday has also been cancelled, after positive Covid-19 test results among the Sharks’ tighthead props.
That means that, with the Sharks and Stormers receiving two log points to move up to 19, the Bulls are champions-elect as they are already on 19, and have a positive points difference of 70, while the Stormers’ is 28 and the Sharks 6.
For the nearly impossible to happen, the Pumas would have to beat the Bulls by 43 points for the Stormers to be the champions on points difference.
In terms of the Bulls-Pumas match, SA Rugby said on Tuesday the Pumas squad will be tested again on Thursday and the results will be known on Friday, which would allow them to at least have a training session that day before facing the Bulls on Saturday.
SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux, though, expressed his disappointment about the latest Covid-19 positive tests.
“Players and management are urged to employ extreme caution in their social engagement,” Roux said in a statement.
“It only takes one careless interaction by a single player to have the knock-on effect that impacts on 45 other players, team managements, the schedule and potentially the destination of the title.
“As fit young athletes, it may be tempting to think that they are ‘immune’ to infection and are free of comorbidities that make them vulnerable. But a positive test for one of them can have massive repercussions.
“I trust that team managements will underline that message on a daily basis to their playing personnel.”