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Lions squad receive second coronavirus vaccinations ahead of South Africa tour

·3 min read

The British and Irish Lions have begun receiving their second Covid-19 vaccinations at their training camp in Jersey.

A number of players and staff who have not already had both doses visited a medical centre at Fort Regent on Tuesday as part of the ambition to have all members of the touring party fully jabbed by the time they arrive in South Africa.

Another group will be seen next Tuesday with the day in the week chosen in the event of any side effects arising – Wednesdays are designated as rest days for the squad, thereby minimising any interruptions to training.

Most of the players were given their initial jabs when they met up for the first time in London last month.

The Government has given dispensation to the Lions, as well as Team GB members heading to the Olympics in Japan, to be vaccinated ahead of schedule despite their age profile due to South Africa’s status as a red list destination.

In the wider population, only people aged 25 or over are currently eligible for a jab.

The Lions have implemented robust Covid counter measures during their time in Jersey despite the island being subject to lighter restrictions.

The Lions completed their first training session on Monday
The Lions completed their first training session on Monday (Gary Grimshaw/PA)

A PCR and lateral flow testing programme is in place, face masks are worn alongside social distancing being observed, all bedrooms are single occupancy only and players keep the same seats on bus journeys.

“Coming out to Jersey we’ve got to respect the island. They’ve done a brilliant job with regard to their Covid protocols and got them absolutely spot on since we’ve got here,” Wales hooker Ken Owens said.

“We’ve been going through a short period of isolation and testing to make sure we aren’t a risk to the island.

“We’re basically hotel-bound and just bussed up to training and back so we’re pretty restricted at the moment. We’re not allowed to leave the hotel.

“It’s something we have to accept to protect ourselves and the wider public here. Then it will be exactly the same as we move on up to Edinburgh and on to South Africa.”

For all the restrictions placed on the Lions, Owens believes they could yet play an influential role as players from four different nations look to bond as quickly as possible.

“We are lucky in some ways because we are in a bubble and very tight together,” Owens said.

Ken Owens believes the Lions could benefit from being in a bubble
Ken Owens believes the Lions could benefit from being in a bubble (Jane Barlow/PA)

“It’s a lot easier to get those connections and that social side done because you haven’t got people drifting off here there and everywhere.

“We’re not sharing rooms so we do tend to spend a lot more time down in around the team room, as you don’t want to be isolated.

“So, in some ways, being in a bubble is a bit of a strength and not a weakness because we are forced to spend a lot more time together.”

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