British & Irish Lions chairman Jason Leonard believes the 2021 tour of South Africa will be the Lions’ toughest yet.
Leonard played for the British & Lions on three tours: in 1993, 1997 and 2001. He has since gone on to be appointed as Lions chairman.
The elite composite team is set to embark on an eight-match tour South Africa, including three enticing Tests against the world champion Springboks later this year. The Lions had previously toured South Africa, with the visitors winning the series 2-1 in 1997 and the Springboks securing a thrilling 2-1 series victory in 2009.
In an interview published on the official Lions website, Leonard said preparations are coming along well for the tour to South Africa, but admits the challenge this time around could be the toughest yet for whoever is selected by Warren Gatland to face the Springboks in the three-match Test series.
‘For me, it’s the pinnacle within our game [to represent the Lions], it really is. Whether that’s as a player or an administrator, it’s something I’m really honoured to be able to do,’ he said.
‘It’s going to be a huge challenge against South Africa, maybe more so than I think in 1997. They were World Cup winners when we faced them in ’97 and the same in 2009 again.
‘Then they won the World Cup this time, so representing the British & Irish Lions is huge and facing the current reigning world champions is the ultimate contest.’
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