The British and Irish Lions' tour of South Africa is in danger of unravelling after an outbreak of Covid-19 decimated their backline resources.

Warren Gatland's men are reeling from the news that eight players must self-isolate after PCR testing uncovered positive cases in one player and one member of the management team.

As a result of close contact tracing, eight players and four members of staff are now self-isolating at the team hotel in Johannesburg.

Although the Lions did not reveal the identities of those involved, it is clearly the three-quarters who have been affected as four emergency changes have been made to the XV to face the Sharks on Wednesday evening.

Half-backs Gareth Davies and Dan Biggar, wing Anthony Watson and full-back Liam Williams have withdrawn. In come Ali Price, Owen Farrell, Louis Rees-Zammit and Josh Adams.

In a farcical situation on the bench, only Finn Russell is available to cover all seven backline spots as part of a seven-one split on the bench.

The Springboks, who are due to play the Lions in the first game of a three-match series on 24 July, have been in self-isolation since Monday when four new cases were reported in their ranks.

This increased to 12 on Tuesday after a new round of testing with both coach Jacques Nienaber and outhalf Handre Pollard among those infected.

South Africa were scheduled to meet Georgia in their second test at Ellis Park on Friday as a warm-up for the Lions series. However, that was cancelled after Georgia also reported six cases in their ranks.

Friday's game has been cancelled

South Africa went into a severe lockdown on June 28 - the eve of the Lions' arrival - as Covid-19 infections spiked. Last Saturday, the country had a daily record of 26,000 new cases.

Tadhg Beirne, Conor Murray, Chris Harris and Stuart Hogg have been pulled off the bench, with Russell, Maro Itoje, Hamish Watson and Taulupe Faletau their replacements.

Lions: J Adams (Cardiff, Wales); L Rees-Zammit (Gloucester, Wales), E Daly (Saracens, England), B Aki (Connacht, Ireland), D Van Der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland); O Farrell (Saracens, England), A Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland); M Vunipola (Saracens, England), L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England), Z Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland), I Henderson (Ulster, Ireland, capt), A Beard (Ospreys, Wales), J Navidi (Cardiff, Wales), T Curry (Sale Sharks, England), S Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England).

Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets, Wales), R Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland), T Furlong (Leinster, Ireland), M Itoje (Saracens, England), J Conan (Leinster, Ireland), H Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland), F Russell (Racing 92, Scotland), T Faletau (Bath, Wales).