SA Rugby trying to arrange ‘at least 3 Tests’ prior to British & Irish Lions arrival

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SA Rugby president Mark Alexander has confirmed the organisation is in discussion with World Rugby to obtain permission to arrange “at least three Tests” prior to the Springboks’ series against the British & Irish Lions in mid-2021.

The Springboks are scheduled to play a three-Test series against the British & Irish Lions between July 24 and August 7 next year.

BUT WHO IS LIKELY TO ACCEPT AN INVITATION?

However, as it stands, the Springboks are set to head into the series without any international action since the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.

But Alexander confirmed SA Rugby is looking into the possibility of organising a couple of Tests in preparation for the series.

‘We are looking at that, we are busy with that,’ he said.

‘We are looking at having a couple of games. We will confirm that once we have confirmed with World Rugby that we can have games.

‘You know, we can’t just organise a game with another country. We have to get permission from World Rugby and we are seeking permission to have at least three or four games before we play the series.’

The million Rand question of course is, which country – or countries – would be willing – and able – to travel to South Africa to play the reigning World Cup champions?

It would of course make little sense for the Springboks to travel outside the borders to prepare for a home series.

There is no chance any of England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales, the four countries making up the British & Irish Lions, would tour.

In addition, France and Italy would be strongly discouraged from doing so either seeing as they are part of the Six Nations.

NO CHANCE THE ALL BLACKS CROSS THE INDIAN OCEAN

There’s also no chance the All Blacks or Wallabies cross the Indian Ocean as they will be busy with the respective Super Rugby Aotearoa and Super Rugby AU, tournaments.

That leaves Argentina or the USA as the most likely high-profile opponents.

But the Pumas have the vast majority of their top-class players in Europe, meaning it would be a Jaguares-type Super Rugby-standard side who at best could tour SA.

The USA will in all likelihood still be battling the coronavirus, but they do have South Africa’s Gary Gold at the helm which could mean a favourable response to any invitation extended.

Japan are a possibility, but they have agreed to play a warm-up match against the British & Irish Lions the week prior to their departure to SA.

It remains to be seen which rabbit(s) SA Rugby is able to pull out the hat.

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