British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa to go on as planned

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WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 27: The Springboks stand for the national anthem during the 2019 Rugby Championship Test Match between New Zealand and South Africa at Westpac Stadium on July 27, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: South African players line up for the national anthem prior to the international match against Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

The British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 2021 will go ahead as scheduled, SA Rugby and the Lions confirmed.

There had been fears that due to the disruption of the rugby Test calendar that the tour would have to be rescheduled. There were also concerns regarding the competition for audiences with the 2021 Olympic Games which will be taking place around the same time.

Last month, SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said a decision to host the tour later in the year was being considered to fall in line with all other Test scheduling debates. Roux added that a number of scenarios and contingencies were in place regarding any rescheduling of the highly-anticipated tour.

However, Roux, this week, confirmed the dates saying that the whole of South Africa was looking forward to welcoming the Lions. He added that they were continuing with plans to give local and travelling fans “a once-in-a-lifetime experience”.

“We’ve seen with the three most recent tours, in 2009 to South Africa, 2013 to Australia and 2017 to New Zealand, that the Lions bring with them a big and passionate group of supporters,” Roux said.

“We have to ensure the army of red does not dwarf our sea of green and gold, while at the same time showing our guests the best South African hospitality.”

The British & Irish Lions are scheduled to play three Test matches against the reigning World Champions South Africa in addition to five other matches across six different locations, between July 3 and August 7.

The British & Irish Lions first toured South Africa in 1891 and have gone on to do so 12 more times. In those 13 Test series, South Africa has won eight times, drawn once and lost four times.  The Lions overall record against the Springboks is played 46, won 17, lost 23 and drawn six.

The Lions tour is highly regarded by players from the opposition, just as it is by those selected from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and they take immense pride in being selected for and playing in those games.

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