Georgia rugby coach hospitalized with COVID in South Africa


CAPE TOWN, South Africa — The Georgia national rugby coach was in serious condition in the hospital in South Africa on Saturday after contracting COVID-19 during a series organized to help the world champion Springboks prepare for the British and Irish Lions tour.

Levan Maisashvili has “serious lung damage and is on artificial respiration,” the Georgia Rugby Union said in a statement, after he was one of six members of the Georgian touring party to test positive for the virus after playing against South Africa in a game in Pretoria on July 2. The five others to test positive were all players.

Maisashvili had not been vaccinated, Georgia team spokeswoman Tatia Beriashvili wrote in an email to The Associated Press, despite members of both the South Africa and the British and Irish Lions squads and their backroom staffs receiving vaccinations.

“Everything is being done to improve Levan Maisashvili’s condition,” the Georgia Rugby Union said. “He has been moved to one of South Africa’s top-level clinics, which is equipped with the most up-to-date medical equipment to manage COVID patients.”

Maisashvili’s illness underlined the dangers of the decision by both South Africa and the Lions to go ahead with the tour while the country experiences a winter wave of virus cases.

South Africa’s rugby squad has had more than a dozen players and backroom staff test positive for the virus since they started preparing late last month. Some of them tested positive in the week before the Georgia game. The Lions have also had positive virus tests in their group.

AP Sports Writer Ken Maguire in La Rochelle, France contributed to this story.

More AP sports: and

No posts to display