SA Rugby Director Rassie Erasmus is hopeful that the Springboks’ Test match against Georgia on Friday night in Pretoria will go ahead as planned despite three Boks testing positive for Covid-19 when the squad assembled in Johannesburg today.
Herschel Jantjies, Sbu Nkosi and Vincent Koch tested positive when the squad reasembled in Joburg following a break after the three-week training camp in Bloemfontein.
Erasmus said the 45-man squad had undergone stringent real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing procedures on arrival at the team base.
Team management immediately put the squad into self-isolation as a precaution until specialist medical advice is sought from the Lions Series Medical Advisory Group (MAG).
A decision on further team activities will be made shortly but Erasmus and head coach Jacques Nienaber feel that Friday’s Test should go ahead because they have more than enough Covid-free player in camp.
“The decision will be made externally and the Georgians come in today (Sunday) but I don’t think the game will be impacted by what has happened,” said Erasmus. “It is why we have 45 guys in camp — so that we will never be in a situation where we don’t have enough players to play a match. To play against Georgia we need to have 23 players who test negative for Covid. If it came to it, we would go outside the current Bok group if we had to, but that shouldn’t be necessary.
“We need to see this in perspective. This is the first time myself and Jacques are experiencing something like this, but our franchise teams and many of the international teams have experienced it. For instance, England assistant coach Matt Proudfoot tested positive and he and England head coach Eddie Jones had to isolate last year, and Fiji also had a problem. It is just a reality of the times we are living in.”