The British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa was thrown into complete turmoil on Wednesday due to positive Covid-19 cases in both camps.
A statement from the Lions said the individual and four close contacts — including two players and two members of staff — were being isolated and assessed at the team hotel, and that all other members of the touring party had been PCR-tested.
If they test positive, then Wednesday's tour match against the Sharks in Johannesburg will go ahead provided another round of testing does not produce any more positive results, but kick-off will be moved to 7pm BST.
The announcement came less than an hour after South Africa cancelled their Friday Test against Georgia due to an outbreak of infections in both of their camps. South Africa’s playing and management group returned 12 positive coronavirus tests, while Georgia returned four.
The British and Irish Lions’ first of three Tests against South Africa is scheduled for July 24, while Saturday’s Lions clash with the Bulls in Pretoria was postponed because of a coronavirus outbreak in the South African province’s team.
SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux said: “In the context of the loss of life and economic damage that Covid and this third wave are wreaking, the cancellation of a rugby match is pretty trivial.
“But it is still a major disappointment for the many stakeholders who have invested so much time, energy and resources into making these matches happen.
“I especially feel for the fans and players, and for our visitors from Georgia who travelled here at relatively short notice to take on the series, which has now been cut short.
“We continue to plan for the Springboks’ re-emergence from isolation and the completion of the Test series, but in the short-term we wish a speedy recovery for those who have been infected.”
SA Rugby added that the enlarged Springboks squad’s travel plans are now being reviewed to comply with Covid-19 protocols. South Africa’s ‘A’ team play the Lions in Cape Town next Wednesday.