SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has pleaded with the relevant parties for the British & Irish Lions vs Stormers clash scheduled for Saturday to be replaced with another South Africa ‘A” clash.
Speaking after the announcement of a star-studded SA ‘A‘ side, Erasmus cited safety as the main reason behind the desired change although the prospect of having an additional 80 minutes for members of the Springbok squad to get under their belts will no doubt be a contributing factor.
For me, changing the Stormers match to another SA ‘A’ game would be the safest (course of action),” he said after announcing a combination laden with first-choice national players for Wednesday’s match.
“We’ve tested negative for Covid-19 two days in a row. We’re living in a hard bubble and we’re moving nowhere. The Lions squad is negative too.
“My honest opinion is that if we or the Lions are going to play a team like the Stormers, the chances of infection will be as high as when (the Springboks) played against Georgia.
“Up until the Georgia Test, we only had RG Snyman as a positive case. After that, we had eight management staff alone testing positive. The moment you bring teams in from the outside – and I’m not pointing fingers at Georgia – it becomes a tough situation to control.”
Warren Gatland, meanwhile, was adamant that such a change will not be made to the schedule and that they would be facing their original opponents on Saturday.
When asked about the possibility of facing what is essentially a full Springbok side again on Saturday, the Lions coach dismissed the notion quickly.
“We won’t be playing them [SA A] on Saturday.”
Watch the full press conferences below.