(SATSports) – The second test between World champions South Africa and Georgia has been canceled after COVID-19 outbreaks were reported in both camps.
The test was scheduled to take place at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Friday. South Africa won the first Test 40-9 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Friday.
SA Rugby, South Africa’s rugby governing body, said the decision was arrived at following a review by the Medical Advisory Group which confirmed that the risk of further infection made it “impossible” for the match to go ahead.
South Africa’s camp reported 12 positive COVID-19 tests, including head coach Jacques Nienaber, while Georgia reported four.
The cancellation comes just over two weeks before the first Test against the British & Irish Lions on July 24 in Cape Town.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux termed the development a “major disappointment” given the amount of resources invested in making the series happen.
“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,” Roux said.
“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’ve not been able to interact with them because of the bio-secure environments, but I’d like to thank them publicly for their support.”
“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,” Roux added.
Meanwhile, the British & Irish Lions match against the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the South African provincial side.
SA Rugby said the match had been postponed with a view to rescheduling or to accommodate an alternative opponent after four Bulls players and one member of management returned positive tests.
The Lions are due to play the Cell C Sharks later on Wednesday at Emirates Airlines Park. The match, however, has been moved an hour later 20h00 local time (19h00 BST) after a member of the Lions management team tested positive for COVID-19.
The Lions said the match will go ahead provided the subsequent round of PCR testing returns negative results on Wednesday afternoon.