B&I Lions: 'We want a tour in South Africa'
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The British and Irish Lions are committed to producing a ‘traditional tour’ of South Africa says chairperson Jason Leonard.
The British and Irish Lions tour against the World Champions the Springboks has been under threat due to the current global COVID-19 pandemic.
World Rugby vice-chairman Bernard Laporte has revealed a final decision on the future of the 2021 tour is set to be made by the end of March.
However, according to the South African and other media reports, Leonard revealed the British & Irish Lions board, who were expected to make a final decision by mid-February, could wait another two months to make their final call.
Thus far, contingency plans have included staging the series in the United Kingdom and Ireland, while Australia has also offered to host the tour, scheduled to take place in from July 3 to August 7.
Should the tour go ahead in South Africa, it is also likely that the matches would be held behind closed doors, said Leonard.
Speaking at the relaunch of the Front Row Club, a fundraising platform for his charity, the Atlas Foundation, Leonard said the board were determined to delay the decision as late as possible in order to get “the best possible solution” based on the latest information.
“It is all fluid, there could be a decision next week, there could be one in four, six or eight weeks’ time,” Leonard said.
“There is nothing on the table at this moment in time where we are saying ‘this is what we need to do’.
“We are still working with all involved to give ourselves the best option of hopefully trying to provide a traditional Lions tour – at least as much as a traditional Lions tour as we possibly can.
“Obviously it is not a traditional year, so a traditional Lions tour could well be impossible to deliver.
“I think from all concerned until someone tells us it is not on, you want to deliver a tour in South Africa this summer [July] .”
Source: South African and Irish Sun