RA's B&I Lions proposal causes major divide
SOCIAL REACTION: Rugby Australia’s offer to host the 2021 British and Irish Lions Tour with the World Champions South Africa has divided the rugby fraternity.
The Lions’ three-Test tour of South Africa is in doubt because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with games in front of empty stadiums or a late shift to the UK alternative options.
However, RA Chairman Hamish McLennan has extended an invitation to South African Rugby Chief Executive Jurie Roux to play in Australia, hot on the heels of the Wallabies’ July series against the French.
One or two of the Tests would be played in Perth, McLennan said, due to the strong expat community and favourable time zones, with another on the east coast.
Under McLennan’s plan, the world champion Springboks and the Lions would share revenue from the three-Test series and Australia would only take enough to cover costs.
Former Wallaby James Horwill was in favour of the idea along with journalists Stuart Barnes & Paul Williams.
However, RA’s left-field proposal has been met equally by those vehemently opposed to the idea with former Scotland international Jim Hamilton clearly showing he is against the idea.
All for the Lions going to Australia to play South Africa.
Weird times need weird solutions.ADVERTISEMENT
Sounds good to me.
— Paul Williams (@thepaulwilliams) January 31, 2021
Please no. https://t.co/qyBK00iKsW
— Jim (@jimhamilton4) January 31, 2021
Safer, more crowds…all those Brits and Irish in Oz would generate an atmosphere in stadiums, even if it is grim news for our travel firms https://t.co/BfEHUTmjst
— Stuart Barnes (@SBarnesRugby) January 31, 2021
South Africa vs Lions in Australia? I mean all you have to do is read that again, will be a great shame if they even considering that.
— BJ Botha (@BJBotha) January 30, 2021
Fans were equally divided over the proposal, with many sharing valid points against it.
Fans felt that the ‘meaningful aspects of the tour’ would be missed, such as connecting with the local culture and the tradition of travelling fans.
Brilliant idea. Move the British Lions test series in the summer from South Africa to Australia. Right now, this makes complete sense for obvious reasons.https://t.co/7xVu1WKG7X
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) January 31, 2021
Australians should piss off. British and Irish Lions tour should be canceled if they can’t stage it in South Africa or postpone until 2022. Playing in Australia or UK wouldn’t be right. And South Africa would lose. https://t.co/i3DeMGe3fX
— Lethabo (@CheetahPlains) January 31, 2021
The thought of getting up at 8am to watch the Springboks run out in Perth to play the Lions and having to hear Aussie commentary… it’s frankly a revolting image. Of all the potential solutions it is the single most unpalatable and disgusting one to SA fans.
— AP Cronje (@rugby_ap) January 31, 2021
But that removes all meaningful aspects of the _tour_. If they can’t play in SA, then better to just tour Australia and play the Wallabies and give SA the next tour slot?
— Stefan Andreasson (@StAndreasson) January 31, 2021
As a lions fan living in SA this would be far from ideal, with Sydney being +9 hrs, games would be at times that are not ideal for both UK and SA. SA is also in dire need for tourists and the revenue the tour would bring.
— Scott Gerald Parker (@scott_fricker) January 31, 2021
Yea na 😳
— Julia (@JuliaBTempler) February 1, 2021
Wales captain and veteran of three Lions tours Alun Wyn Jones was adamant that delaying the tour was not an option.
“I think it needs to go ahead this year,” Jones said, speaking during Wednesday’s Six Nations virtual launch.
“The jury is out on where it will happen. We all know the jeopardy that it’s in. All being well, everyone will be safe and looked after if it does go ahead, for those guys selected.
“It would be a travesty if the fans weren’t able to go and see it.
Former Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus also earlier came out and said that they will explore every option for the tour to go ahead claiming they will ‘do whatever it takes’, signalling the utmost importance of the Lions tour to SA Rugby’s finances after a covid-impacted 2020 year.
“We desperately want to play the Lions, and we will do anything to play them,” he said.
“This series only comes around every 12 years. I have heard the different calls and opinions about the tour, and although we didn’t play in the Rugby Championship because of player welfare, it was also because we knew there was this big series in 2021.
“If option one of playing in South Africa doesn’t work out, we will go to option Z to make it happen,”
Additional Source: Rugbypass & AAP