• Lions tour to SA shaping up as all or nothing

    England RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney says the British & Irish Lions would prefer to tour South Africa but, failing that, will only tour again in 2025.

    SARugbymag.co.za has independently verified that information around the tour now taking place as originally planned in South Africa is accurate, and this has been communicated in local rugby circles.

    The Lions will open their tour against the Stormers in Cape Town on 3 July, and while the series may have to take place behind closed doors, there is hope that some capacity for fans could be accommodated.

    Of course, this will all depend on the status of the pandemic in South Africa at the time.

    Speaking to media in the UK, Sweeney confirmed that the contingency plan of staging the tour in the UK appears increasingly unviable and that discussions to keep the tour in SA are at an advanced stage.

    ‘We’re running out of time for a UK option, frankly. The days are ticking by,’ Sweeney said.

    ‘The preferred position has always been to go to South Africa and play in South Africa, either with crowds or behind closed doors.

    ‘We’re in a critical dialogue to confirm what they’re capable of doing around the Lions going to South Africa.’

    Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Getty Images