- South African Rugby has no immediate plans to alter the dates of the British & Irish Lions tour in 2021 though they are conducting scenario planning around a possible switch due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lion’s tour is a rugby event that normally happens every four years in New Zealand, Australia, or South Africa. Due to the pandemic and a projected twist in that world rugby calendar, it is more likely that the July window will be utilized for other events that may push the tour to later dates of the season.
“While we continue to look forward to an incredible test series and tour against the British & Irish Lions in 2021, and there are no planned changes, it would be remiss of us not to explore various scenarios for a possible date change caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” SA Rugby said in a statement.
Reports suggested that the tour to meet the world champion Springboks could be postponed or canceled to free up space on the international calendar. It is meant to ease England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales in hosting fixtures next July and boost revenue hit hard by the global pandemic.
It was early reported that each home union will receive in the region of 2 million pounds ($2.48 million) for the use of their players on the Lions tour, while it is now clear that they can make at least double that by hosting a single test at a sold-out home stadium.
The Lions tour was planned to start on July 3rd with the three tests on consecutive weekends from July 24 onwards. These dates also clash with the revised schedule for the Tokyo Olympics, although both the Lions and SA Rugby have previously said they will not move the tour because of this.
Rumors have it that World Rugby will review the use of the July international window in future years and could move Lions tours to later in the season.
They (World Rugby) may push the tour to October-November window that would see northern hemisphere sides travel south for the first month and then host fixtures in the second month as part of a move to standardize a global calendar.