All ticket holders for the original British & Irish Lions schedule will receive a full refund after the revised fixtures were confirmed on Friday.
It has been confirmed that all eight matches of the tour will be played in Gauteng and Cape Town to minimise the risks of disruption that could be caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘We’re delighted to be able to finally confirm the revised schedule after months of scenario planning and shifting circumstances,’ said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
‘It has been a challenging process with dozens of variables to consider but we believe we have arrived at a schedule that minimises the risks associated with the pandemic.
‘We are hopeful that restrictions on attendance at sports events will be relaxed but, for the moment, we are planning for an event behind closed doors. If that requirement changes, then we’ll assess the options available and make the necessary decisions based on the restrictions in place.
‘I would like to thank our supporters and commercial partners for their patience over these many months. This is not the Castle Lager Lions Series we imagined when we started our planning more than two and a half years ago but, in the circumstances, I think it is an exciting prospect.
‘After all the uncertainty it’s a relief to be able to put a stake in the ground and confirm what the series will look like – I’m sure most of us can’t now wait for kick off.’
Roux said that the priority throughout had been to ensure the Lions Series went ahead and he thanked the staffs of the unique joint venture (that was established to run the tour) for the hard work and sleepless nights they had endured to arrive at a workable solution.
‘The scenarios changed on a weekly basis with options on three different continents workshopped and interrogated over the past few months to reach this point,’ said Roux.
‘Throughout we have had a single-minded goal to ensure the series went ahead. The British & Irish Lions only visit our shores once every 12 years and to deny our players and our supporters the opportunity of sharing in the experience of what is invariably an event passes into folklore would have been a devastating blow.
‘We’re now ready to deliver the series.’
Ticket holders would be contacted directly to advise details of the refund process.
Meanwhile, SA Rugby also confirmed that SA resident ticket holders would have first right to purchase tickets for the revised schedule if restrictions on attendance at sports events were lifted.
The full Lions Series 2021 is:
- Saturday 3 July: Emirates Lions v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
- Wednesday 7 July: Cell C Sharks v The British & Irish Lions (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg) KO 20h00 (SAT) / 19h00 (BST)
- Saturday 10 July: Vodacom Bulls v The British & Irish Lions (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
- Wednesday 14 July: South Africa ‘A’ v The British & Irish Lions (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) KO 20h00 (SAT) / 19h00 (BST)
- Saturday 17 July: DHL Stormers v The British & Irish Lions (Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
- Saturday 24 July: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (1st Test, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
- Saturday 31 July: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (2nd Test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)
- Saturday 7 Aug: Springboks v The British & Irish Lions (3rd Test, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg) KO 18h00 (SAT) / 17h00 (BST)