Lions' tour of South Africa could be moved to British and Irish soil

Springboks could face the Lions on British and Irish soil in attempts to salvage the series with summer tour of South Africa in doubt due to Covid-19

  • The Lions are set to face the Springboks in a tour of South Africa in the summer 
  • It is in doubt though due to escalating concerns the country has over Covid-19  
  • South Africa are still months away from introducing a vaccination in the country 
  • The home unions are believed to be interested in playing the tour in the UK 

The Lions could face the Springboks on British and Irish soil in a contingency plan to salvage the 2021 series.

This summer’s tour of South Africa is in doubt because of escalating concerns about the country’s hold over Covid-19.

South Africa are still months away from rolling out a vaccination so the prospect of filling stadiums by June appears to be bleak.

The British and Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa is under threat as a result of Covid-19

The tour could potentially be played out in the UK with revenue to be shared with South Africa

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux previously stated that it would not be financially viable to stage the games behind closed doors, while contingencies to postpone the tour are loaded with logistical difficulties.

The Mail on Sunday understands that the home unions are open to the ‘lucrative’ option of playing the Tests in the UK and sharing the revenue with South Africa.

However, such a move depends on full crowds being allowed to return to the likes of Twickenham, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin by the summer.

The Lions declined to comment on specific planning, but managing director Ben Calveley did issue a statement in response to yesterday’s Daily Mail story about the tour being in danger. The Lions are scheduled to depart on June 27 for an eight-match itinerary and Calveley has set a February deadline for a decision.

He said: ‘As you would expect, we are progressing with our plans based on the latest information available to us. However, given the uncertainty that continues to be caused by the coronavirus pandemic both in South Africa, as well as the UK and Ireland, we are very aware of the need to make a timely decision on the best way forward.

‘Not least this is so that we can provide clarity to supporters booked to travel to South Africa next summer, or those thinking of making the trip.’

The Lions board will meet in January and February to review all data.

Mario Itoje in action during the British and Irish Lions’ last tour of New Zealand back in 2017

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