British and Irish Lions confirm 2021 dates despite Olympics clash

Rugby

The British and Irish Lions will tour South Africa in 2021 despite scheduling clashes with the Olympics, the Lions and South Africa Rugby confirmed on Wednesday.

The postponed Olympics will begin on July 23 while the Lions tour will start on July 31 and continue until Aug. 7.

The Lions will play five friendlies before three Test games against the Springboks.

The 2021 tour represents a reduced schedule with the Lions playing 10 games in New Zealand in 2017 and 10 on the tour to Australia in 2013.

The first Test game will be played on July 24 at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg which previously hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final.

The second Test will be played the following weekend on July 31 at the Cape Town Stadium while the final Test will be played on Aug. 7 in the Emirates Airline Park.

“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,” British and Irish Lions managing director Ben Calveley said in a statement.

“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.

“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.”

This will be the British and Irish Lions’ 13th tour of South Africa with the first trip occurring in 1891.

In the 13 visits to the Springboks, the Lions have won four Tests, lost eight and drawn one.

“We’re delighted to confirm the Tour dates remain the same. 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,” CEO of South Africa Rugby Jurie Roux said.

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