Springboks to play Bulls ahead of British & Irish Lions Tests

Rassie Erasmus greets British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland. David Rogers/Getty Images

South Africa will play another warm-up match ahead of their Test series against the British & Irish Lions, arranging a fixture against the Bulls in Cape Town on Saturday, SA Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus said.

The Springboks played only one of two preparatory Tests against Georgia because of an outbreak of COVID-19 that affected 13 players over the past fortnight.

That prompted them to field most of their Rugby World Cup-winning team for South Africa A against the Lions in their tour match in Cape Town on Wednesday, but Erasmus said the Springboks needed another game to improve their conditioning before the first Test on July 24.

"We are 70-80% there but there is still stuff we have to work on," Erasmus said after South Africa A defeated the Lions 17-13 on Wednesday.

The Bulls, the Currie Cup champions, have been asked to go into quarantine, and they will play the Springboks on Saturday if they pass all COVID-19 tests.

The fixture is likely to act as a curtain-raiser to the tour match between the Lions and the Stormers.

The Bulls were supposed to play the Lions in Pretoria last weekend, but the Pretoria-based outfit could not field a team after several positive COVID-19 cases in their camp.

Erasmus, who had hoped for another run out against the Lions, continued to suggest it would be better if the South Africa A side and the tourists went head-to-head again this Saturday.

He seems, however, to have accepted that this is not part of the Lions' planning.

South Africa still have eight players and head coach Jacques Nienaber self-isolating after contracting COVID-19, but they are expected to rejoin the squad over the coming days.

"Jacques is also the defence coach and this week he was coaching us virtually, so the way our guys [South Africa A] responded was great," Erasmus said. ]

"A number of players need some game time, but we will address that, as well as how to bring the COVID cases back in and manage their return to play."