Much at stake as Lions await crucial Covid-19 test results ahead of Griquas clash
The Lions are sweating on the results of their latest Covid-19 tests‚ which were conducted on Tuesday.
The Ellis Park-based team had their Super Rugby Unlocked match against the Cheetahs called off on Saturday because of the number of positive tests in their camp.
Four players tested positive in the wake of their round two clash against the Stormers while nine were asked to isolate and were not eligible for selection for the match against the Cheetahs. Two more tested positive on the eve of the match, which forced SA Rugby to pull the plug on the fixture last Saturday.
The Lions play Griquas at Ellis Park on Friday evening but that match is very much in the balance. The squad was again tested on Tuesday and the team could have another home match called off if more positive tests are registered.
Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli said a decision on Friday's game was likely on Wednesday.
“We'll just have to wait. The tests were done today [Tuesday] and the results will be sent to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). The government will then engage SA Rugby, they will come up with proposals and we will be directed by that‚” said Straeuli.
He said should the match be called off, the options would be similar to what they had last weekend.
“We will have to enter consultations with Griquas‚ like we have to in the case of the Cheetahs, to see if we can reschedule‚” said Straeuli.
As things stand, their match against Griquas is officially still on - but it is difficult to see how they would get the green light this week if the same group of players‚ infected or not‚ is still declared off limits.
If Friday's match is also called off and cannot be rescheduled‚ along with the one against the Cheetahs‚ it will effectively rule the Lions out of the race for the title.
The Lions lost away to the Sharks and the Stormers in the first two weekends of Super Rugby Unlocked. They would have hoped their four consecutive home matches would have presented them the opportunity to drag themselves back into contention but that now looks unlikely.