New British & Irish Lions Tour 2021 Schedule Confirmed
A new schedule for the British & Irish Lions 2021 tour to South Africa has been confirmed.
Rather than moving around the country as per the original schedule, all eight matches will now be played in either Gauteng or Cape Town due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The reduction in travel means the Lions will have just two bases and minimises the risk of disruption associated with Covid.
The tour will kick off with two games in Johannesburg and one in Pretoria, followed by three in Cape Town, including the first Test. The second and third Tests will both be played at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
In one opposition change to the original schedule, South African franchise the Lions have replaced the SA Invitational team.
All Saturday tour matches will kick off at 6pm in South Africa (5pm UK & Ireland time) while the two Wednesday matches will get underway at 8pm in South Africa (7pm UK & Ireland).
For the pre-tour Test against Japan at BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh at the end of June, a crowd of 16,500 supporters will be able to attend after discussions with the Scottish Government.
Not all those who have purchased tickets will be able to attend due to the reduced capacity and those that can’t will be refunded. All ticket holders will be contacted by Friday 28 May to advise whether they have been successful in gaining access to the match. For more information on tickets, visit lionsrugby.com/faqs/1888-cup-faqs
However, current restrictions mean it is unlikely fans will be able to attend the matches in South Africa.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said: “It has been a challenging process with dozens of variables to consider but we believe we have arrived at a schedule that minimises the risks associated with the pandemic.
“We are hopeful that restrictions on attendance at sports events will be relaxed but, for the moment, we are planning for an event behind closed doors. If that requirement changes, then we’ll assess the options available and make the necessary decisions based on the restrictions in place.
“This is not the Castle Lager Lions Series we imagined when we started our planning more than two-and-a-half years ago but, in the circumstances, I think it is an exciting prospect.
“After all the uncertainty it’s a relief to be able to put a stake in the ground and confirm what the series will look like – I’m sure most of us can’t now wait for kick-off.”
Lions managing director Ben Calveley added: “While things will undoubtedly look different to a typical Lions tour, together with SA Rugby we are determined to deliver an uninterrupted series for the players who will take the field, as well as the many millions of people watching at home.”
British & Irish Lions Tour 2021 Schedule
Sat 26 June British & Irish Lions v Japan (3pm, BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh) Live on Channel 4
Sat 3 July Lions v British & Irish Lions (5pm, Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) Live on Sky Sports
Wed 7 July Sharks v British & Irish Lions (7pm, Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) Live on Sky Sports
Sat 10 July Bulls v British & Irish Lions (5pm, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria) Live on Sky Sports
Wed 14 July South Africa A v British & Irish Lions (7pm, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) Live on Sky Sports
Sat 17 July Stormers v British & Irish Lions (5pm, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) Live on Sky Sports
Sat 24 July First Test – Springboks v British & Irish Lions (5pm, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) Live on Sky Sports
Sat 31 July Second Test – Springboks v British & Irish Lions (5pm, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) Live on Sky Sports
Sat 7 Aug Third Test – Springboks v British & Irish Lions (5pm, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) Live on Sky Sports
All kick-offs UK & Ireland time (South Africa is an hour ahead).
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