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Lions tour in chaos as Springboks coach Nienaber among 11 new positive cases and Bulls game off

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Head coach Jacques Nienaber is one of the Covid-19 cases in the Springboks squad. Photo: Phill Magakoe/Getty

Head coach Jacques Nienaber is one of the Covid-19 cases in the Springboks squad. Photo: Phill Magakoe/Getty

AFP via Getty Images

Head coach Jacques Nienaber is one of the Covid-19 cases in the Springboks squad. Photo: Phill Magakoe/Getty

The Lions' third fixture in South Africa against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday has been postponed after four players and one member of staff tested positive. The game may be refixed for Wednesday, July 21.

The Lions may look at finding a new opponent this weekend as they desperately try to keep their schedule intact and offer their players the best chance of succeeding amidst the chaos.

The Springboks' final warm-up match against Georgia on Friday is also now in grave danger of being cancelled as the entire tour threatens to descend into farce.

Both the Lions and the Springboks are preparing in Johannesburg which is currently experiencing the third wave of the pandemic in the Rainbow Nation.

After Lood de Jager tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, four of his team-mates - Marvin Orie, Frans Steyn, Handre Pollard and Frans Malherbe - reported positives today. Additionally, six members of the backroom team including Nienaber and one masseuse have also contracted the virus.

The Medical Advisory Group (MAG) will review the latest medical data tomorrow morning, with the Lions playing the Sharks at Ellis Park tomorrow night.

“These positive results are a setback and have underlined the danger of transmissibility of the delta variant,” Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, said.

“The Springboks’ second Test against Georgia is now in serious doubt, but we will wait for the MAG to consider the data and we will make the final decision tomorrow.

“The priority is to maintain the integrity of the Test series and we will continue to focus on that.”

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