Not being the Brain of Britain and certainly not being equipped with the prophetic facilities of Nostradamus or the Brahan Seer, nevertheless I do feel justified in writing what I have always wanted to write – I hate to say I told you so but I did.

The coronavirus pandemic was always going to have an impact on the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa and months ago I raised the prospect of disruption from positive virus tests. 

The news that the South African squad is isolating for the second time in eight days after a player, lock forward Lood de Jager, tested positive for Covid-19 is proof that the tour should not have gone ahead until after South Africa was declared safe. 

Vincent Koch, Herschel Jantjies and Sbu Nkosi returned positive results on June 27, though just to confuse matters, Sale player Jantjies later returned a negative test and was a replacement when the Springboks beat Georgia 49-0 last Friday in Pretoria in their first game since winning the World Cup in Japan in 2019.     

The match tonight against Cell C Sharks is going ahead, though the home team is much weakened due to the Springboks’ management insisting on retaining nine of their players in the squad ‘bubble’, and at the time of writing, Saturday’s match against the Vodacom Bulls – predicted by some as the strongest provincial side to face the Lions - is also cancelled after several of their players tested positive and others have gone into isolation.

The same goes for South Africa’s second warm-up Test against Georgia, and the fact that yesterday’s team announcement was postponed is very significant. To preserve the Test series against the Lions, I think the Boks will have to bite the bullet and call off their match against Georgia. 

I remind you that I was still asking for a re-think on the whole tour late last month. I wrote: “I just don’t think it should be taking place as the risks of Covid-19 to players, coaches and fans are just too great.”

Certain correspondents wrote to say I was exaggerating the situation in South Africa. I look forward to receiving an apology – forget it, life’s too short... 

I wrote this in early APRIL: “It may well be that the tour is curtailed with perhaps just one or two ‘warm up’ matches and the three tests, and perhaps significantly the latest announcement says the Lions Board and SA Rugby are ‘aligned’ on delivering the three-Test series in South Africa during the ‘scheduled playing window.’

“Sounds to me they are preparing for a cut-down version of the Tour, but even that is a huge risk to players and backroom staff, even if they have been vaccinated – and should professional sports people get their jags before the rest of the population? I think not.”

I now think that’s the way things are looking – that the only way to guarantee the Test series going ahead is to call off the Bulls match and possibly the South Africa A and DHL Stormers games, too. Put both squads into isolation from tomorrow and keep them there until the First Test on July 24.

The final decision on what matches will proceed will rest with the Medical Advisory Committee which includes medical experts from both the Lions and Springbok squads, and the chief executives of both the Lions and South Africa Rugby.  The latter two will have preserving the three Tests uppermost in their mind so I expect some curtailments beforehand.  

The only good news is that there have been no positive coronavirus tests in the Lions' camp yet which suggests to me that the management and players are doing the right things.

I have been very impressed by Steve Tandy ever since he became Scotland’s defence coach, a role he now performs for the Lions. I noted what he said yesterday about adjusting and coping with Covid.

"It's something we're constantly reminded of,” said Tandy. There's no risk in what we're doing.

"We're tested three or four times a week and everything's sanitised and everyone's on their best behaviour, because nobody wants to jeopardise this tour in any way, shape or form."

Now that’s good sense, and though obviously his plans may well be disrupted in the coming days, Warren Gatland has also impressed me with the way he is approaching his task as head coach – and he has been true to his word by giving every player in  the squad a chance to play against Japan and the two South African provinces. 

Judging by his team selection for tonight’s match against the Sharks, following on from the British and Irish Lions’ fine opening performance against the Emirates Lions on Saturday, Gatland is looking to test which players are able to adapt to the style of direct rugby that he wants the Lions to play. For instance, Hamish Watson might have played himself into the Test team with his outstanding display against the Emirates Lions, but Gatland still wants to give Tom Curry of Sale a shot at the No. 7 jersey.

We’ll know a lot more about the 2021 Lions after tonight’s match, but let’s just hope everyone is safe.