Nine Lions out of Cheetahs encounter
BREAKING NEWS: The Lions have confirmed that nine players have been ruled out of their encounter with the Cheetahs as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in the team.
The Lions host the Cheetahs in a Super Rugby Round Three encounter at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Lions team doctor Rob Collins confirmed that four players have tested positive and two of those players represented with ‘mild’ symptoms, which was within the 48-hour window of the match against the Stormers.
Having followed the prescribed protocols and tracing the people those players have been in close contact with, it has resulted in nine players being placed in isolation for the next 10 days.
Only four players have actually tested positive, but the rest of the players have been withdrawn because they were in contact with the players who tested positive.’
The outbreak at the Lions has already had a spin-off, with the Stormers having been forced to put World Cup-winning Springbok Steven Kitshoff and fellow Bok Siyabonga Ntubeni into isolation.
This is a result of the duo having been in contact with one of the Lions players who have subsequently tested positive.
It is a contact that happened during last Saturday’s Round Two Super Rugby Unlocked match at Newlands.
The Lions outbreak is not as serious as the recent Premiership incidents.
Sale Sharks paid a heavy price when they missed out on what would have been the club’s first play-off appearance in more than a decade – with 27 positive tests for COVID-19, resulting in the postponement and eventual cancellation of their final Premiership league match against Worcester Warriors.
There was even uncertainty over Wasps’ participation in the Premiership Final this week, after the English club produced 11 positive tests, including players and backroom staff.
However, Premiership Rugby gave them the all-clear on Wednesday, which means they – rather than Bristol Bears, the team they beat in the semifinal play-offs – will face newly-crowned European champions Exeter.
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The Lions doctor, Collins, said no players with symptoms have tested negative – even though there have been reports of players at other unions exhibiting symptoms, but testing negative.
He added the COVID tests do have false positives and false negatives and given the complex nature of the disease it is not always easy to pinpoint whether symptoms are related to the disease.
“I suspect that a few of the four positive tests are actually false positive tests,” Collins said, adding that the two symptomatic players are already on the mend.
He feels the outbreak may not be as big and the cluster ruled out is more of a ‘precautionary’ measure.
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