Lions tour of South Africa to go ahead as scheduled

Warren Gatland will lead the famous British and Irish touring team for the third time as they look to secure a first series win against the Springboks since 1997

Lions winger Tommy Bowe tries to escape Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha during the 2009 Test series. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson
Lions winger Tommy Bowe tries to escape Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha during the 2009 Test series. Image: Fotosport/David Gibson

THE British and Irish Lions and South Africa Rugby have committed to next summer’s tour going ahead as scheduled, having concluded that the threat of coronavirus will have subsided sufficiently by that point for it not to be a major public health issue.

The tour will take place at the same time as the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, which will run from 23rd July to 8th August.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of disruption to the sporting calendar, but after extensive discussions we are now able to confirm that the Tour dates are as previously announced,” said Ben Calveley, British & Irish Lions Managing Director.


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“An enormous amount of planning, especially from a logistical perspective, goes into putting on a Lions series, so it was crucial that a decision was agreed upon in good time. I am particularly pleased that we are able to provide some clarity for all those Lions supporters eager to travel to South Africa next summer.”

Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, added: “We’re delighted to confirm the Tour dates remain the same. The whole of South Africa is looking forward to welcoming the Lions and we continue progressing our plans to provide travelling supporters with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Full 2021 tour schedule:

  • Saturday 3 July: British & Irish Lions v DHL Stormers – Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • Wednesday 7 July: British & Irish Lions v South Africa ‘Invitational’ – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
  • Saturday 10 July: British & Irish Lions v Cell C Sharks – Jonsson Kings Park, Durban
  • Wednesday 14 July: British & Irish Lions v South Africa ‘A’ Team – Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Saturday 17 July: British & Irish Lions v Vodacom Bulls – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
  • Saturday 24 July (first Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions – FNB Stadium, Johannesburg
  • Saturday 31 July (second Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions – Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • Saturday 7 August (third Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions – Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg

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David Barnes
About David Barnes 1873 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

5 Comments

  1. It’s down to the Scotland players to put themselves in the picture and stake a claim and the only way to do that is to perform on the park and properly front up away from home. Also it would help if invitations to join the coaching staff were taken up by Scotland coaches. I get why Toony had to decline last time out but there can be no excuses now.

    I have been disappointed in the lack of Scottish representation in the Lions for the past few tours but it has to be said for much of that time Scotland have been poor and too many Scotland players simply haven’t been good enough to get in ahead of players from the other nations. I would say theres maybe 10 of our players who are contenders for a place but there will only be a good representation if our players do the business.

    • Depends on your point of view. I just don’t buy into this idea that playing for or merely watching this exhibition team is somehow greater than doing the same for Scotland. I know these are fevered political times, so please don’t think I’m trying to make a political point – that is not my intent. For me as a mere spectator, my interest comes from passion, something I feel very little of when discussing the Lions. Indeed, my interest is limited to what it means for Scotland next summer. If I were a professional player, I’d feel the same…but I’d soon take the money on offer!

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