Rugby Australia confirms offer to host Lions series

Australia have emerged as willing contenders to host the British & Irish Lions Test series scheduled to take place in South Africa from July.

The Lions are set to embark on an eight-game tour of South Africa – including a three-Test series against the world champion Springboks – but the coronavirus pandemic has created considerable uncertainty over whether the tour will go ahead as planned.

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Meanwhile, possible options under consideration by the Lions bosses are playing the games behind closed doors, delaying the tour until next year or hosting games in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

However, in a fresh twist, Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan extended a public invitation to SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux to move the series to Australia.

McLennan told the Sydney Morning Herald he was confident that the expatriate community of South Africans in Australia would sell out stadiums.

‘Ultimately it’s their call,’ McLennan said. ‘What we learnt from the Tri-Nations last year and the tennis that’s happening now is that Australia can successfully stage global tournaments in a Covid world.

‘It’s particularly tough in the UK and South Africa at the moment and I believe the more international rugby that gets played here, the better. We’re here to help.’

McLennan said that profits from the Test series would be split between the Springboks and Lions.

‘We’ll cover our costs but it continues to put rugby front and centre and we’ll be helping our member union friends out along the way. The more world class rugby that’s played in Australia, the better for the code.’

Photo: Getty Images

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Dylan Jack