Springboks v B&I Lions: The new alternative?
SOCIAL BUZZ: With major doubt being cast over the viability of the British and Irish Lions to South Africa, an alternative suggestion has been gaining legs in Europe.
The eight-match itinerary that culminates in a three-Test series against the world champion Springboks is set for July and August this year.
However, with Britain, Ireland and South Africa still in lockdown to try and bring down infection rates down the possibility of fans being allowed to travel and attend matches is receding.
The British & Irish Lions released an official statetement revealing a decision could be taken by February on whether the Tour will go ahead as planned.
“As you would expect, we are progressing with our plans based on the latest information available to us,” Lions CEO Ben Calveley said in an official statement.
“However, given the uncertainty that continues to be caused by the coronavirus pandemic both in South Africa, as well as the UK and Ireland, we are very aware of the need to make a timely decision on the best way forward.
”Not least this is so that we can provide clarity to supporters booked to travel to South Africa, or those thinking of making the trip.”
Delaying the series until 2022 could create as many scheduling problems and that has lead many to question whether or not a series could take place in the United Kingdom.
Former Sky Sports anchor Alex Payne has put forward an alternative itinerary, one that could go some way to satisfy fans hungry for the quadrennial rugby tour.
“Instead of moving the Lions dates, why not move the geography… I’d buy a ticket”
Payne’s tour would kick off in earnest with a Lions’ ‘possibles versus a probables’ match on July 3, followed the same day by South Africa versus Japan in Brighton.
The following weekend (July 10) would see the Lions take on Japan at Murrayfield, with the Boks taking on Leinster in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
The three Lions tests versus South Africa would then take place the subsequent weekends of July 17, 24 and 31 in Twickenham, the Millenium Stadium and Croke Park in Dublin respectively, with a dirt trackers match in Glasgow’s Celtic Park on Tuesday the 20th, versus Japan.
Payne’s schedule would allow for no clashes with the Premiership Final, no money loss for sponsors and commercial partners, and the opportunity for the Lions and South Africa to share the spoils.
While Payne’s schedule certainly will be welcomed by UK fans, South African supporters will certainly not be happy with the idea.
Instead of moving the Lions dates, why not move the geography…
— Alex Payne (@AlexPayneTV) January 3, 2021
Source: Rugbypass & AFP