The Lions’ Super Rugby Unlocked squad has been rocked by positive COVID-19 tests returned on four of its members.
The franchise confirmed there have been four positive cases of the virus in their squad this week, but asserted that all the players concerned are currently asymptomatic.
Four lions test positive for COVID-19
The players have been withdrawn from the squad and placed in quarantine in keeping with the protocols agreed upon by the teams, SA Rugby and the Department of Sports, Arts and culture.
According to team management, the entire Lions squad will be retested before their matchday group to face the Cheetahs this weekend is named.
“The team gets tested every week as required by protocol,” a statement from the Lions reads.
“These players, all of whom are asymptomatic, have been removed from the squad. All protocols have been kept, and the relevant parties have been informed.
“We are ready and preparing for the Cheetahs at Emirates Airline Park this weekend. The team will be retested as per Covid protocols.”
Alberts already in quarantine
Lions Lock Willem Alberts had to be withdrawn from the team to face the Stormers on Saturday 17 October following the revelation that he was in close contact with someone who had contracted the virus.
The identity of the four players has not been revealed, but there should be a more precise picture once the Lions name their team for the weekend.
A rough start for talented Lions
The Lions have an incredibly tough opening to Super Rugby Unlocked being drawn against fellow heavyweights the Sharks and Stormers away from home in the first two rounds they are now set to welcome the high-flying Cheetahs to Ellis Park.
The Lions have sustained narrow losses in their opening two rounds with some sparkling interplay marred by ill-discipline which has left them at the wrong end of the Super Rugby Unlocked table.
Those losses haven’t prevented certain individuals from shining with Elton Jantjies looking every bit an experienced Springbok pivot, while livewire scrumhalf Morne van den Berg is out to further complicate the national halfback conversation.
Former Bulls centre Burger Odendaal has impressed since making the move south of the Jukskei River and twice carved open the Stormers last weekend.
Frontranker Carlu Sadie has enjoyed a great start to the season as well pulling off a few turnovers in the loose and helping the Lions go toe-to-toe with bigger packs.