Premiership Rugby has reiterated it won’t alter the date of the 2021 final despite it taking place just a week before the British & Irish Lions’ opening game on their tour to South Africa.
Following the announcement of the Lions’ itinerary for the highly anticipated trip in two years’ time, the governing body of England’s domestic league has reconfirmed its stance on moving the decider to an earlier date.
The 2021 Lions’ tour is set to commence with a match against the Stormers in Cape Town on 3 July, just a week after the end of the Premiership season. Head coach Warren Gatland previously expressed his apprehension over the two dates being a week apart from each other, as the full Lions squad won’t have adequate preparation time together ahead of the tour.
The PRO14 organisers have come on board by aligning with Gatland’s request to move their grand final forward by a week. However, Premiership Rugby remains adamant its final date will not be moved, as the schedule for its league season had been confirmed since World Rugby’s decision to to revise the global calendar.
‘More than 12 months ago, alongside the RFU and RPA, we announced the season structure for Premiership Rugby until 2022, which gave everyone clarity on the future,’ read a statement from the Premiership board.
‘In 2017 World Rugby’s San Francisco agreement set out a new global calendar to run until 2032, which included the movement of the Premiership Rugby season into June aligning with Super Rugby. The San Francisco agreement allowed us to set the future season structure for Premiership Rugby.’
The statement added the agreement already detailed the dates for the next three seasons, with Premiership Rugby confirming that negotiations regarding the issue were not ongoing.
‘We welcome Wednesday’s confirmation of the 2021 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa, which starts on Saturday, July 3,’ read the statement. ‘Since 1997 Premiership Rugby and its clubs have been incredible supporters of the Lions, providing 124 players for those tours.
‘We wish the Lions every success in South Africa when again we expect our clubs to supply a large number of players for the trip to play the world champions. We will continue our amicable discussions with the Lions over their tour operational requirements.’
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