The British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa in July 2021 will not be rescheduled despite a direct overlap with the new dates for the Tokyo Olympic Games announced on Monday.
The Olympics have been pushed back a year due to the global coronavirus pandemic, and will now start on 23 July 2021, the day before the first of three Tests on consecutive weekends between the Lions and world champion Springboks.
‘The priority right now has to be the safety and well-being of all those affected by the global Covid-19 pandemic,’ Lions managing director Ben Calveley told Reuters.
‘We are determined to play our part in what will be an extraordinary summer of sport. There should not be any direct clashes with Lions matches and Olympic events given the time difference between South Africa and Tokyo, so fans should not miss out on any action. We are expecting a fantastic series against the world champions.’
The clash in dates will narrow the options for the Springbok Sevens side that will compete in Japan, with the likes of wing Cheslin Kolbe, who won bronze in Rio de Janeiro four years ago, otherwise occupied with the 15-man game.
Other players such as Kwagga Smith, Ruhan Nel and Seabelo Senatla who might have hoped to make both teams, will now have to make a choice.
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