Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
10 Mar 2021
4:19 pm

Boks closer to facing the Lions in four home union Tests

Rudolph Jacobs

The world champions look set to take on the British and Irish Lions in four Tests in the UK - in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Dublin.

The British and Irish Lions will now only play in Joburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. Picture: Getty Images

It seems like the last little bit of hope that South African rugby supporters had clung to that the British and Irish Lions tour would still take place on home soil has been dashed.

The Lions were set to start their 12-yearly tour of the country in July – they last toured in 2009 – with a match against the Stormers at the new Cape Town Stadium, but that may now have to sadly disappear like thick mist just before sunrise.

The board of the British and Irish Lions have apparently received the financial backing from the British government after they lodged an application recently to host the world champions, according to a report in The Times.

That would probably ensure that the Springboks and the Lions are hosted in a bio-secure bubble before the Test series is due to kick off.

That venue is believed to be in Jersey, one of the Channel Islands between England and France.

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It does, however, seem like the earlier proposal to fly local teams like the Bulls, Sharks and Stormers over to the UK to play in midweek “tour” matches against the Lions, is no longer part of the planning.

Instead, proposals were flung on the table for a possible fourth Test to accommodate the broadcasting giant Sky Sports, who have invested a lot of money to secure broadcast rights for the eight matches originally part of the full tour schedule.

An SA-A side could instead be flown over to the UK to play in four midweek matches against the Lions.

While it would be a historical first for the Lions to tour the four home unions, it seems like this may be the only workable solution left. South Africa right now is simply not in a position to welcome and host the Lions, or their fans.

The offer by Australia to host the Lions and Boks has already been rejected.

It is believed the four Lions Test matches would take place at Twickenham in England, Murrayfield in Scotland, the Millennium Stadium in Wales and the Aviva Stadium in Ireland.

A final decision is expected by the end of the month.

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