South African Rugby president Mark Alexander insists the legacy of the British & Irish Lions in South Africa will reflect through job creation as much as the series result.
The touring team will come to South Africa in 2021 for an eight-game tour that includes three highly-anticipated Tests against the world champion Springboks.
‘We know what the Lions in South Africa brings to our country, in tourism, in job creation and in money,’ says Alexander. ‘The projections are that 13300 temporary jobs will be created, with many evolving to sustainable and permanent jobs. We are expecting 37000 tourists to support the Lions across South Africa. There will be a R450 million tax benefit to government and significant economic benefits.’
South Africa’s track record to host the biggest and grandest global sporting events is exemplary and Alexander believes the Lions in South Africa in 2021 will be ground-breaking and revolutionary to rugby on every level.
The British & Irish Lions chairman and former Lions prop Jason Leonard echoes a similar view.
‘I am massively excited about the Lions South Africa 2021. It will be the biggest and the best.’
Ian McGeechan, who played for and coached the Lions in South Africa, says to be in South Africa as part of the ‘Sea of Red’ is an experience never to be forgotten.
‘South Africa has a special atmosphere to it that you simply can’t find anywhere else,’ says McGeechan.
Another of the Lions legends, Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll says: “South Africa gets it (the Lions) the most and as a player you know it is going to be hard.”
Former Lions players saturated social media platforms when the tour schedule was confirmed earlier in the week.
Ireland’s Gordon D’Arcy tweeted: ‘What a schedule in a beautiful rugby mad country.’ And England’s Lawrence Dallaglio added: ‘If you’re thinking about something to aim for in 2021 then go Big!! Go and follow the Lions [The Special Forces of Rugby] v the World Champions. The 1997 Tour to South Africa was the best rugby experience of my life!’
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