Picture: 123RF/WAVEBREAK MEDIA LTD
Picture: 123RF/WAVEBREAK MEDIA LTD

SA will play another warm-up match ahead of their Test series against the British & Irish Lions, after fixing a game for Saturday against the Bulls in Cape Town, SA director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said.

An outbreak of Covid-19, which struck down 13 players over the past fortnight, meant the Springboks played only one of two preparatory Tests against Georgia and spent last week self isolating in their rooms.

That prompted them to field most of their World Cup winning team for SA ‘A’ against the Lions in their tour match in Cape Town on Wednesday, but Erasmus said the Springboks needed another game to improve their conditioning before the first Test on July 24.

“We are 70%-80% there but there is still stuff we have to work on,” he said after Wednesday’s 17-13 victory.

As a result, the Currie Cup champions Bulls have been asked to go into quarantine and if they pass all Covid-19 tests, they will take on the Springboks on Saturday.

The fixture is likely to act as a curtain-raiser to the tour match between the Lions and the Stormers.

The Bulls were supposed to play the Lions in Pretoria last weekend but could not field a team after several Covid-19 cases in their camp.

Erasmus, who had hoped for another match against the Lions, continued to suggest it would be better if the SA ‘A’ side and Lions went head-to-head again this Saturday.

He seems, however, to have accepted that this is not part of the Lions’ planning.

Wednesday’s victory for SA ‘A’ over the Lions went according to the script, said Erasmus.

“We thought we’d get tired in the second half after just two training sessions following five days of sitting in our hotel rooms. Two yellow cards also made it difficult for ourselves. It wasn’t a brilliant game but a tough and physical one and we needed that.”

SA still have eight players self-isolating after contracting Covid-19. They are expected to rejoin the squad over the coming days, making it important that there is another match before the first Test, Erasmus said.

Reuters

subscribe

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.