Major Changes Set For British & Irish Lions 2021 Tour Of South Africa

The right move?

The British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa in 2021 is set to be reduced from the usual ten tour games to just eight due to a lack of ‘meaningful’ competition according to a report in The Guardian.

The move will no doubt be welcomed by Premiership clubs who have long called for the tour to be shortened, but it may return back to its 10-match format for the subsequent tours of Australia and New Zealand.

Talks with New Zealand, Australia and South Africa about an agreement to cover the three tours in the next 12 years are approaching a conclusion, with Premiership clubs and the RFU set to get their way, at least for the 2021 tour.

As it stands an eight-match tour may remain in place for the 2025 tour due to the current state of Australian rugby, but this isn’t set in stone. A ten-match tour of New Zealand is likely in 2029.

“Each tour will be looked at on its merits,” one administrator said.
“We will be keeping an open mind. A shorter tour means longer preparation time and clearly had the Lions been in South Africa this year, it is unlikely that there would have been the 10 meaningful fixtures that there were in New Zealand where the strength of the warm-up teams meant the Lions went into the Test series battle-hardened.”

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