South African rugby players warned as virus strikes again

File: SANZAAR was set up in 1996 to manage the Super Rugby club competition and the Test tournament now known as the Rugby Championship. Pixabay/hirobi

JOHANNESBURG - SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux warned players to "employ extreme caution in social engagements" after another Super Rugby Unlocked match was postponed because of the coronavirus.

The high-profile final-round fixture between the Sharks and the Stormers, scheduled for Durban on Saturday, was called off when an unspecified number of Sharks tested positive for COVID-19.

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It is the third time in a seven-round series between the top South African teams that a fixture has not been played because of public health concerns.

The Sharks and Stormers trail leaders the Bulls by two points in a competition that signalled the return of domestic competitive rugby, which was shut down in March when COVID-19 cases grew rapidly.

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

"As fit young athletes, it may be tempting to think that they are 'immune' to infection and are free of comorbidities that make them vulnerable.

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"But a positive test for one of them can have massive repercussions. I trust that team managements will underline that message on a daily basis to their playing personnel."

Another domestic competition, the Currie Cup, is set to kick off on November 27 and feature the same teams as Super Rugby: the Bulls, Cheetahs, Griquas, Lions, Pumas, Sharks and Stormers.