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Stephen Ferris talks Lions tour, Covid cases & team selections

| 03.07.2021

What a week it’s been in South Africa. A huge win of 56-14 against the Lions put every British & Irish Lions fan on a high. Then we were all quickly brought back down to earth with the news that Covid 19 was in the Lions camp after a member of management tested positive. 

With the Lions due to play the Sharks on Wednesday night, this game was now in doubt and another round of Covid testing was well underway. 

The Bulls, who the Lions were supposed to play on Saturday also have Covid cases, however they are significantly higher and this game has now been cancelled as a result. So, the Lions have turned to their plan B option, and that is to play the Sharks for the second time in the space of four days. This is all turning into a bit of a shambles and there is nothing that anyone can do to fix it.  

And lastly, to rub more salt into the wounds of all the rugby fans out there, the South African squad have Covid cases in their camp and the whole team is now self isolating. What an eventful week it has been for everyone involved in this Lions tour.  

Will we actually witness the three test matches which kick off on the 24th July? Or will Covid continue to play havoc and throw this whole tour into jeopardy? 

With so much negativity surrounding the Lions and this tour, I think it’s also important to touch on some of the world-class rugby we have witnessed in the matches they have played.  

A good win against Japan kicked it all off, followed by a thumping of the Sigma Lions, and somehow the Sharks game went ahead. with the Lions also putting them to the sword 54-7.  

The players are firing on all cylinders and the competition for places is extraordinary. Thankfully, I’m not the one who has to pick a test team in a couple of weeks, and Warren Gatland along with his coaching ticket will have a few sleepless nights trying to figure it all out. 

Josh Adams is scoring tries for fun at the minute. He has scored seven tries since he landed in South Africa, but he has been assisting in tries and tackling with authority and is surely a bolter for the test team.  

One man who might be playing alongside Adams is South African-born Duhan Van Der Merwe. He also scored a hat-trick in the game against the Sharks and was given the Man Of The Match by the host broadcaster. 

So, what does the next week look like for the Lions? They are scheduled to play the Sharks once again at 17:00 on Saturday evening, then it’s a flight to Capetown with a couple of days training before taking on South Africa ‘A’.  

I don’t think there is much point in looking further ahead than this after the week we have just had. So, let’s all hope and pray for no more positive cases and that the next couple of fixtures go ahead without any more hiccups. 

Stephen 

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