The Lions are set to play all their matches on the tour of South Africa behind closed doorways – together with the three Assessments towards the Springboks – after a revised schedule was confirmed.
As beforehand reported by Sportsmail, it has been identified for a number of weeks that travelling British and Irish followers wouldn’t have the opportunity attend any fixtures, however it was nonetheless hoped that some native spectators could be permitted, in managed numbers.
Nevertheless, after the case was introduced earlier than the host nation’s Nationwide Coronavirus Command Council final weekend, it has been confirmed that the South African union (SA Rugby) are continuing on the premise of empty stadia.
Warren Gatland’s British & Irish Lions might be taking part in in empty stadiums in South Africa
This can be a shattering setback for SA Rugby – and the broader economic system within the host nation – as they may miss out on the once-in-a-generation monetary windfall generated by a full-capacity Lions tour.
There had been projections that the 2021 occasion would entice round 35,000 supporters from these islands. As an alternative, the fixtures will now proceed in hole COVID-secure bubbles.
There might be eight matches, together with the Assessments, as was initially deliberate, however the itinerary has been modified to mirror the hazard of disruption from the pandemic. All of the video games will happen within the province of Gauteng and in Cape City.
Alun Wyn Jones and Co will compete and dwell in bio-secure bubbles in South Africa
As an alternative of taking over an SA Invitational facet, the vacationers will now tackle the Johannesburg-based Lions, of their opener on July 3.
Regardless of fears that no crowds might result in the entire tour being cancelled – because of the prospect of monetary losses – officers are urgent forward for now.
Lions managing director Ben Calveley stated: ‘The Covid-19 pandemic has brought on appreciable disruption to the worldwide sporting calendar, however after discussions with our companions at SA Rugby, we’re more than happy to have the ability to give affirmation of the revised tour schedule.’
LIONS 2021 TOUR SCHEDULE
Saturday 3 July: Emirates Lions v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) 5pm (BST)
Wednesday 7 July: Cell C Sharks v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) 7pm (BST)
Saturday 10 July: Vodacom Bulls v The British & Irish Lions (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria) 5pm (BST)
Wednesday 14 July: South Africa ‘A’ v The British & Irish Lions (Cape City Stadium, Cape City) 7pm (BST)
Saturday 17 July: DHL Stormers v The British & Irish Lions (Cape City Stadium, Cape City) 5pm (BST)
Saturday 24 July: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (1st Check, Cape City Stadium, Cape City) 5pm (BST)
Saturday 31 July: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (2nd Check, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) 5pm (BST)
Saturday 7 Aug: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (third Check, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) 5pm (BST)