The Rugby Championship narrowly avoided being thrown into fresh COVID-19 chaos after a member of the Springboks support staff returned a false positive test.
The Herald can reveal the staff member initially returned a positive test that was immediately placed under investigation by Queensland Health after flying from Cape Town to Brisbane at the weekend.
The staff member was on the charter flight alongside the rest of the Springboks and Pumas squad, who are completing “managed isolation” on the Gold Coast before the first of four double-headers kicks off in Queensland next weekend.
Aviation sources told the Herald staff on the plane had been alerted.
“We have processes in place with all the state health departments who we work with closely in regards to any positive cases on our flights,” a Qantas spokesperson said.
“Managed isolation” allows for players and staff to move between their hotel rooms and training facilities, but sources with knowledge of the situation told the Herald the Springboks and Pumas were all forced to isolate on Monday until the staff member completed further testing.
Sources with knowledge of the situation said the South African support staff member, who is fully vaccinated, has since returned a pair of negative tests.
One test was completed by the Springboks team doctor and the other was a PCR test.
A Rugby Australia spokesperson confirmed that the case had been deemed a false positive by Queensland Health.