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Lions player who was positive for Covid yesterday returns negative result today

The tourists’ MD confirmed that some members of the set-up had opted against vaccination.

The Lions beat the Sharks last night.
The Lions beat the Sharks last night.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

THE LIONS PLAYER who tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday has returned a negative result after a PCR test today.

The unnamed player will undergo a further PCR test tomorrow and if that is also negative, they would be released from isolation and be available to play in Saturday’s scheduled clash with the Sharks, as would the player’s close contacts.

However, the member of Lions management who tested positive yesterday has returned another positive result today, meaning they and their four close contacts – two players and two other members of management – remain in isolation.

Lions managing director Ben Calveley said a decision on that quintet’s period of isolation has yet to be reached with the Lions series medical advisory group, which is made up of medical staff from SA Rugby and the Lions.

Calveley also confirmed that the Lions had not made it mandatory for their touring party to take up an offer of full vaccination ahead of the trip to South Africa, which is currently in the midst of a severe third wave of Covid-19.

Asked whether the Lions felt it was a risk to have people who are not fully vaccinated on tour with the group, Calveley said individuals’ decisions had to be respected.

“Well, I think everyone has a right to make their own decision on whether or not they want to be vaccinated,” said Calveley. “We have a number of strategies in place to mitigate the risk in any environment.

“I think it’s wrong for anyone to think that vaccination is some sort of universal panacea. I’m afraid it’s not. So we have an approach which is multi-layered where, as well as having a majority of the party being vaccinated, we are also exhibiting all of the right behaviours that I’ve spoken about before.

“We’re getting tested three times a week, if not more, we’re socially distancing, we’re well ventilated, we’re observing hand hygiene, we’re wearing masks, we’re not integrating with the public, and we’re travelling very infrequently.

ben-calveley Lions MD Ben Calveley speaking in Johannesburg. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“The hotel staff don’t go home every evening and re-integrate the next day. They live on-site here as well and actually there are very few hotel staff. So actually our bubble is about as secure as it can be.

“We think we’ve got a very, very robust set of protocols in place that will keep us as safe as they possibly can.”

Calveley declined to comment on how many people in the Lions touring party are not vaccinated, although he stressed that “the very high majority of the party are double-jabbed.”

The Lions have arranged a rematch with the Sharks for this Saturday after their original fixture against the Bulls was postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Bulls’ squad.

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The Lions hammered the Sharks 54-7 last night in Johannesburg, meaning the Sharks face a short turnaround as they look to be more competitive this weekend.

“They are the only side in the country that is able to meet the really strict protocols that exist – that is because they have already been living in a bubble,” said Calveley. “In terms of playing that number of games in a short period of time, that applies to us as well.”

Having rejected the suggestion that there was a sense of doom about this tour, Calveley reiterated that the Lions and SA Rugby are not considering moving the Test series outside of South Africa.

“It’s certainly not as simple as just hopping on a flight and playing the series out on British soil. We’re very much here taking things one step at a time, dealing with the challenges as they arise, making decisions one day at a time.

“So the focus today has been the rearranged Sharks fixture for the weekend. We then get on a plane on Sunday, we travel down to Cape Town where we have more fixtures. And there are no plans for us to do anything different to that.”


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

Bernard Jackman, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey discuss whether or not the Lions’ tour of South Africa should really be going ahead, the new faces in Andy Farrell’s Ireland team, and Luke Carty’s return in stars and stripes.

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