The British & Irish Lions will embark on an eight-game tour of South Africa in 2021 after the hugely-anticipated itinerary was jointly announced by the respective rugby bodies on Wednesday.
Tour organisers have worked to ensure that the tour reaches the length and breadth of South Africa, as it braces to visit some of the most impressive stadiums in the world, before culminating in the ultimate rugby challenge with three Test matches against the newly-crowned Rugby World Cup champions, the Springboks, ahead of the tour’s epic conclusion.
The combined capacity for the three-Test venues is just below 205 000 – culminating in an average of 68 300 spectators at each venue – which could make the three Tests on the 2021 tour the best-attended since professional rugby, and potentially surpassing the 192 972 crowd attendance during the three Tests in Australia in 2013.
The eight-game schedule also includes three fixtures against Vodacom Super Rugby teams the Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers, and two mid-week fixtures against an invitational side in Port Elizabeth and South Africa ‘A’ in Nelspruit.
Erasmus feeling upbeat ahead of tour
Director of Rugby at SA Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, said the keenly awaited tour was a once-in-a-lifetime playing opportunity for South African players. “There are players who have been to three Rugby World cups and finished their careers with a winner’s medal and yet never got to play against the Lions,” said Erasmus.
“They only come around every 12 years for our players and only a few of them ever have the privilege of wearing the Springbok jersey in a Lions series. The Lions have not lost a series since they were last here a decade ago and they will present a next-level challenge in 18 months’ time.”
The world cup-winning outgoing coach added that preparations for the Lions were well and truly underway. “It is now something like 600 days until the British & Irish Lions arrive in South Africa and we have already started with planning for that,” said Erasmus. “The Lions will operate like a well-oiled machine and we will have to work very hard to match them in every department, on and off the field.”
Test tour dates and venues vs Springboks
- FNB Stadium, Johannesburg – Saturday, July 24
- Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town – Saturday, July 31
- Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg – Saturday, August 7