Reports suggest that the Springboks and British & Irish Lions are both weighing up the option of basing themselves in Jersey as it increasingly appears the highly anticipated tour will move north.
Jersey, an island off the coast of the south of England, has been the subject of interest for both Warren Gatland and Rassie Erasmus as preparations continue for the Lions series. It is felt that the series is now all but certain to be played this July in the UK and Ireland.
The Rugby Paper reports that Gatland has spent the last week on the island scouting for training facilities. The Strive Academy, a multimillion-pound high-performance complex based opposite the Jersey Reds rugby club, is set to finish construction in May. The academy is expected to rival the best facilities anywhere in Europe and is understood to be Gatland’s primary target.
The Springboks, for their part, have purportedly inquired about the availability of one of Jersey’s largest hotels for a seven-week period over June and July. If the Lions series were to go ahead in the UK and Ireland, the Springboks would still technically be considered as the hosts and consequently may have first right to choose where they are based.
There are other indications that a UK-based Lions tour will soon be confirmed.
The Telegraph has also reported that the Lions are set to secure a broadcast deal which will open the series to a free-to-air audience in UK. It will be the first time the series has been broadcast on terrestrial television in 28 years.