Springbok director of rugby Rassie Erasmus says the upcoming
series against the British & Irish Lions has not lost any credibility
despite the Covid-19 challenges that have faced the tour.
The Boks have been rocked by a Covid outbreak within their
camp that has impacted players and staff, while the Lions too have had an
isolated player testing positive for the virus.
It has left the tour drowning in confusion.
On Monday, Erasmus named his squad for Wednesday’s clash
between SA ‘A’ and the Lions, before suggesting that this Saturday’s scheduled
match between the Stormers and the Lions could be scrapped in favour of another
SA ‘A’ game for safety reasons.
Last weekend, the Bulls’ scheduled match against the British
Lions was also called off because of Covid cases with the Pretoria-based
franchise’s camp.
With the first Test scheduled for 24 July at Cape Town
Stadium, there is also uncertainty as to whether Tests two and three will
remain in Cape Town or return to Gauteng as planned.
There are also, of course, no spectators allowed in any of
the stadiums during the tour as South Africa continues to battle its third
Covid-19 wave.
Considering all these factors, Erasmus was asked on Monday
whether or not he felt that the Lions tour in its current state had lost any of
its credibility.
“No, I don’t think so,” Erasmus said.
“The Lions are over here and they are sacrificing as
much. They are also in a hard bubble and they also had a case or two and had to
“It’s the same for everybody. People will still sit at
home and watch the Lions play against the Springboks. We will still sing the
anthems. We will still play for our country. There will still be a referee and
the field will still be the same size.
“It will be 15 guys on the field, the referee will do
his best, the captains will do their best, we’ll coach as well as we can.”
Erasmus added that, I the context of the year ahead, the
Lions series was also important for the Springboks as they look ahead to the
2021 Rugby Championship having not played in that competition last year.
“The Lions series is obviously the big thing for us
this year, but the weekend after the final Test match, we play against
Argentina, and then we go to Australia for another eight weeks,” he said.
“Long-term, we will definitely have to manage guys’
mental wellbeing and player welfare. I think playing these three Test matches
will help with that.
“It will be the Lions’ best team next Saturday against
the Springboks’ best. It’s just disruptions, but everybody has to go through
that. It will be a Springbok team against a Lions team, which will b a great

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