Cape Town to host all matches between South Africa, British & Irish Lions

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 10: Table Mountain seen during day 2 of the 2017 HSBC Cape Town Sevens at Cape Town Stadium on December 10, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for HSBC)

The three test matches between World champions South Africa and the British & Irish Lions will be played at Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town to reduce the risk of either camp suffering further COVID-19 outbreaks.

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for HSBC)

Following the first test on July 24 in Cape Town, the series had been scheduled to take place in Johannesburg in Gauteng province, the epicentre of the country’s current COVID-19 wave, for the remaining two matches.

However, following extensive consultation with medical experts on the risks associated with the delta variant of COVID-19, the series will conclude in the capital of the Western Cape province.

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said a return to Gauteng would only expose the series to “renewed risk”.

The Springboks’ preparations for the three-match series had been disrupted by COVID-19 with at least 20 players and staff testing positive and the entire squad having to go into isolation.

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi, Makazole Mapimpi and Ox Nché were the last group of players to report for duty at the Springbok camp in Cape Town on Monday after completing their mandatory self-isolation in Johannesburg.

“The data pointed in only one direction. The Series has already been significantly disrupted by COVID-19 and a return to Gauteng at this time would only increase the risks,” Roux said.

“Everyone wants to see the two squads, at their strongest, playing out an unforgettable Series over the next three weekends and this decision gives us the best opportunity to see that happen.”

“We are fully supportive of this decision which we believe to be in the best interest of the Test Series,” British & Irish Lions tour director Ben Calveley said.

The second and third Tests between the Springboks and Lions are set to take place on July 31 and August 7.

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