The Lions played the Sharks last night. Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Lions to play the Sharks for second time on Saturday in Pretoria

The tourists have more PCR testing today and tomorrow.

THE BRITISH AND Irish Lions are due to play the Sharks for a second time in four days this Saturday in a hastily arranged warm-up game at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria [KO 5pm Irish time, Sky Sports].

The Lions were set to face the Bulls this weekend but that game was called off due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Bulls’ camp.

SA Rugby and the Lions have since been working to arrange a replacement fixture and the tourists are now due to take on the Sharks for the second time in four days, pending results from their latest round of PCR testing for Covid-19.

The Lions – who confirmed two positive Covid cases in their set-up yesterday – will undergo testing today and tomorrow but they say they are “optimistic” they will be able to fulfil this fixture against the Sharks.

Warren Gatland’s men hammered the Sharks 54-7 last night at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, scoring eight tries in the process.

That big win over the Sharks followed last Saturday’s mauling of the Sigma Lions, meaning Gatland’s men have yet to face a serious test on South African soil.

They are currently scheduled to play South Africa A on Wednesday 14 July, although the Springboks are currently dealing with a Covid outbreak in their squad and it remains to be seen how strong a team the South Africans will be able to field in that fixture.

Given that the Springboks’ planned clash with Georgia tomorrow was cancelled due to the Covid outbreaks in both of their camps, the South Africans certainly need some warm-up rugby before the Lion Tests series.

For now, the Lions are building up to another meeting with the Sharks.

“We’re very grateful to the Sharks for agreeing to play us again this Saturday at Loftus Versfeld,” said Ben Calveley, Managing Director for the British and Irish Lions.

“We have further Covid-19 testing scheduled for today and tomorrow. The results of those tests will determine whether we will be able fulfil this fixture but, as it stands, we are optimistic.

“We remain committed to the tour in South Africa and determined to rise to the challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The Sharks’ clash against the Sigma Lions in the Currie Cup on Saturday has had to be cancelled as a result of their rematch against the British and Irish Lions.

“The choice of the Cell C Sharks was dictated by the fact that they have been in a bubble, have returned negative tests throughout and were prepared to take on the fixture,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“No other team in the country could meet those conditions right now without going into a five-day lockdown. It is not an ideal situation, but Covid-19 has made sure that we do not live in an ideal world.”

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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