Nine Lions players in quarantine ahead of Cheetahs clash
JOHANNESBURG - The Lions have withdrawn five more players for selection to their squad to play the Free State Cheetahs on Saturday due to Covid-19 concerns, team doctor Dr Rob Collins revealed earlier on Thursday.
"Nine players have been withdrawn from the squad, and two have presented symptoms," said Collins on a Zoom conference call. "Their symptoms," he continued, "have basically recovered by now, but they do have symptoms, yes."
Collins did not divulge the names of the players withdrawn due to doctor-patient confidentiality. All the players have entered quarantine and will be in self-isolation for at least 10 days, depending on whether any show further symptoms and the severity of illness, if any, Collins explained further.
On Wednesday, the union revealed that four players had tested positive for the virus but all were asymptomatic. The withdrawal of a further five players from consideration from selection is a precaution as those individuals had come into close contact with the infected players this past week.
The Lions are not the only union to opt for discretion in this regard. The Stormers, whom the Lions played last weekend, have also withdrawn two players - Steven Kitshoff and Scarra Ntobeni - from their squad after it became clear, through a video review of the match, that one of the Lions players that had tested positive for the virus had come into prolonged contact with them on the weekend.
Said Collins: "One player developed symptoms on Monday, which is in the 48-hour window after the match against the Stormers.
"We then had to do a video review and determine the contact with the player concerned. I reviewed the video footage, together with my Stormers colleague and Clint Redhead (SA Rugby head of medical) to determine who was in contact and who needed to be quarantined."
The Lions are set to announce their matchday squad to face the Cheetahs later on Thursday at 2pm, and a clearer picture of what impact the disruption of the withdraws will have on the team should then come into focus.