South African players warned about behaviour after COVID cancellations

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South African rugby players were warned on Tuesday to practise strict compliance with measures to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection, following the cancellation of a third Super Rugby Unlocked match.

The Sharks against the Stormers in Durban on Saturday has been cancelled following positive tests among the Sharks forwards, SA Rugby said on Tuesday.

It followed the cancellation of two Lions matches -- against the Cheetahs and Pumas.

“Players and management are urged to employ extreme caution in their social engagement,” SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux said.

“It only takes one careless interaction by a single player to have the knock-on effect that impacts on 45 other players, team managements, the schedule and potentially the destination of the title.

“As fit young athletes it may be tempting to think that they are ‘immune’ to infection. But a positive test for one of them can have massive repercussions,” Roux said in a statement.

The Pumas’ match against the Bulls – scheduled for Friday in Pretoria – has been pushed back until Saturday.

The Pumas squad – which returned several positive tests last week – will be re-tested on Thursday. The results will be known on Friday, allowing time for a training session after 10 days in isolation before facing the Bulls.

Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ed Osmond