Lions v Springboks: South Africa return to training, despite captain Siya Kolisi, coach Jacques Nienaber testing positive for COVID-19

The South African rugby team will resume training, before their three-test series against the British & Irish Lions, after COVID-19 testing and preventative self-isolation cleared several players for a return to the field.

But captain Siya Kolisi, coach Jacques Nienaber and 12 other players who tested positive are still in isolation and could miss the first test in Cape Town on July 24.

"With the entire squad and management team confined to their rooms since Monday, the possibility of transmission through close contact has been mitigated," South Africa Rugby says.

Along with Kolisi, loose forward Dan du Preez, prop Ox Nche, hookers Bongi Mbonambi, and Scarra Ntubeni and wing Makazole Mapimpi all tested positive over the weekend, adding to the players who contracted the virus last weekend.

First-five Handre Pollard had previously been named among those who returned positive tests, along with Lood de Jager, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, S'bu Nkosi, Marvin Orie and Frans Steyn.

With several members of team management also infected, Saturday's warm-up test against Georgia was cancelled.

All the players who tested positive are expected to follow strict return-to-play protocols, SA Rugby says, leaving them in doubt for the first test.

With two hookers and props among the positive COVID-19 test results, Sharks hooker Fez Mbatha and Bulls prop Lizo Gqoboka have been drafted into the 46-man squad as cover, while 

SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will take charge of training in Nienaber’s absence.