South Africa Rugby takes a huge hit in their Olympic campaign as head coach Neill Powell test positive for coronavirus.
Powell was put in isolation for a compulsory 14 day quarantine period after returning a positive Coivd-19 test result. The head coach of the defending Olympic bronze medalists from the 2016 Rio Olympics is now forced to lead the team remotely during the next few weeks.
Powell tested positive in the city of Kagoshima upon flying in with the team for their week long training camp. Upon arrival to Tokyo, the team hit a road block after reports that someone on their flight tested positive for the virus, this prompted Olympic officials to put the whole team in isolation delaying their training camp.
Renfred Dazel the South African assistant coach will not take over on field duties and responsibilities for the rest of the tournament.
“Tomorrow will be a week since we left South Africa and it is fair to say there has been some off-field dramas,” said Dazel in an interview.
“We came to Japan well-prepared, with the hard work done at home, so this is just a small distraction in that bigger picture.
“We had good camps in Sandton and Robertson and did very good work there; we came to Japan a week earlier mainly to acclimatize and get used to the humidity, and that has not changed.”
It is said that Powell has been in touch with the team virtually as he continues to oversee and coach virtually.
“It is going well, the players adapted well to the situation, so credit to them as well,” he said.
“We obviously need some time out on the field from a physical point of view, so we hope to stretch the legs a bit in the later stages of the week.
“We are all still in good spirits and understand that we cannot change those things we cannot control. We did manage to add some fun elements into the adjusted training schedule and that certainly helped.”
The men’s Olympic tournament will kick of on July 26 as South Africa hurries to get their training camp back on track.