The dates of the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa have been confirmed
Just under a year from its scheduled kick-off‚ the dates of the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa have been confirmed.
Despite the uncertainty around scheduling‚ in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic‚ the eight-match tour will kick off on Saturday 3 July 2021 when the tourists play the Stormers in Cape Town.
Three weeks later the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg will host the first Test‚ with the second scheduled for Cape Town on Saturday 31 July‚ before the tour concludes back in Johannesburg for the third Test at Ellis Park a week later.
The Lions’ Test in Cape Town will be the first one there since their tour of 1997. It will be the first time the Lions’ play at Cape Town Stadium as it will be for the venue of the first Test‚ the FNB Stadium.
“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 and Irish Lions Managing Director in a media release.
There had also been speculation that the dates may shift as part of World Rugby’s push for the introduction of a global calendar. That‚ however‚ is on the backburner.
“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‚” said Calveley.
“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.”
The British and Irish Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions‚ with the first Tour taking place in 1891. In that time‚ the Lions have won four Test series‚ lost eight with one drawn. Their overall record against the Springboks is played 46‚ won 17‚ lost 23 and drawn six.
On their last tour in 2009 the Springboks won the highly competitive and captivating series 2-1.
“We’re delighted to confirm the tour dates remain the same‚” said SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.
“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 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 Sharks – Kings Park‚ Durban
Wednesday 14 July: British & Irish Lions v South Africa ‘A’ Team – Mbombela Stadium‚ Nelspruit
Saturday 17 July: British & Irish Lions v 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 – Ellis Park‚ Johannesburg
Source: ARENA Holdings.