The British and Irish Lions game against the Sharks in Johannesburg on Wednesday will go ahead – but the tourists had to make a string of changes to their squad after recording another positive Covid-19 test which leaves them with just eight available backs.
The Lions announced earlier on Wednesday that a member of the management had recorded a positive test. They said they would conduct a further round of testing and, if another positive was recorded, Wednesday’s game would be called off.
They did indeed record another positive, a player, but the game is set to go ahead.
Alongside the two positive tests, a total of 12 close contacts (eight players and four management) were identified as close contacts and put into isolation, too.
The Lions made four changes to their starting lineup (all in the backs), and four more to their bench, which left them with just one back on the bench, Finn Russell.
Half-backs Gareth Davies and Dan Biggar were replaced by Ali Price and Owen Farrell, who were not due to be part of the matchday 23. Josh Adams came in for Liam Williams at full-back, and Louis Rees-Zammit for Anthony Watson on the wing.
On the bench, the changes were dramatic, with Maro Itoje in for Tadhg Beirne, flanker Hamish Watson replacing tour captain Conor Murray and No8 Taulupe Faletau in for centre Chris Harris. Russell replaces Stuart Hogg.
With Covid-19 causing carnage across South Africa, the whole tour is in disarray.
Saturday’s game against the Bulls has already been called off due to positive cases, while the Springboks will not play against Georgia on Friday night because both teams have had Covid cases in the camp.
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