Covid-19 could still throw spanner in the works for British & Irish Lions tour of SA

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The 2021 British & Irish Lions tour is still not guaranteed to take place during its scheduled dates – or at all – due to Covid-19.

In recent weeks, a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the United Kingdom with England on a month-long lockdown at present.

While SA Rugby and British & Irish Lions officials have been at pains to stress the importance of the tour going ahead, they are on record as saying it won’t do so if spectators aren’t able to attend.

There has been talk of delaying the July-August tour to later in 2021, to an October-November window.

Such an option of buying time seems feasible with the Six Nations having recently been concluded (in late October) and the Autumn Nations Cup upcoming in Europe.

That would mean players in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales could be playing Tests late in the year in back-to-back years.

According to the Rapport newspaper, SA Rugby and their British & Irish Lions counterparts will in all likelihood have to make a final decision on whether the tour goes ahead by March 2021.

The British & Irish Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891.

In that time, the British & Irish Lions have won four series, lost eight with one ending in a draw.

Their overall record against the Springboks reads: Played 46, won 17, lost 23 and drawn six.

British & Irish Lions itinerary for tour of South Africa:

July 3 v Stormers, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

July 7 v South Africa ‘Invitational’, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

July 10 v Sharks, Kings Park, Durban

July 14 v South Africa ‘A’, Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

July 17 v Bulls, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

July 24 v 1st Test South Africa, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg

July 31, 2nd Test South Africa, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

August 7, 3rd Test South Africa, Ellis Park, Johannesburg

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