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The British & Irish Lions to play the Sharks again after postponement of Bulls encounter

08 July 2021 - 17:14 By liam del carme
British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland says he hopes the Test series against the Springboks can go ahead.
British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland says he hopes the Test series against the Springboks can go ahead.
Image: @lionsofficial/Twitter

After the initial postponement of their match against the Bulls‚ the British & Irish Lions will now instead play a second match against the Sharks.

SA Rugby and the B & I Lions have agreed to replace the Bulls with the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday‚ kickoff 6pm‚ after the former was ruled out because of Covid-19 infections.

“The choice of the Sharks was dictated by the fact that they have been in a bubble‚ have returned negative tests throughout and were prepared to take on the fixture‚” said Jurie Roux‚ CEO of SA Rugby.

The Lions will be hugely relieved to have opposition this weekend. They are desperate to get themselves battle ready before engaging the Springboks on July 24. They have had it relatively easy in their opening two games.

The tourists beat the Sharks 54-7 at Ellis Park on Wednesday in the second match of their tour. They had opened their tour with a 56-14 victory over the Lions on Saturday.

“No other team in the country could meet those conditions right now — without going into a five-day lockdown. It is not an ideal situation but Covid-19 has made sure that we do not live in an ideal world‚” said Roux.

The change has meant that the Sharks’ match against the Ellis Park based Lions in the Currie Cup on Saturday has been cancelled, with a decision on the points allocation to be confirmed.

“We’re very grateful to the Sharks for agreeing to play us again this Saturday at Loftus Versfeld‚” said Ben Calveley‚ MD for the British & Irish Lions.

“We have further Covid-19 testing scheduled for today and tomorrow. The results of those tests will determine whether we will be able fulfil this fixture but‚ as it stands‚ we are optimistic.

“We remain committed to the tour in SA and determined to rise to the challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic.”