Image: The Principality Stadium; Wales Rugby Union

We round up the latest updates on the Lions South Africa tour including COVID-19 contingency plans, potential venue changes, new match dates and premium ticket options.

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Last updated: 16/03/21 at 11:19

2021's much-anticipated return of the quadrennial British and Irish Lions tour is at risk of disruption due to the pandemic. With a new more transmissible variant of the virus and growing infection rates, fans could be prohibited from travelling to games.  

Throughout July and early August, the Lions are scheduled to play three Test matches against reigning World Champions, South Africa. They're also set to play five matches in four different locations across the country.

The Lions tour is expected to be one of the most popular sporting events of this year. However, the BBC reported that South Africa's rugby union has 'made it clear that tour without visiting fans if not commercially viable for them', fueling speculation if the tour will go ahead or not.  

Demand is already high, with British rugby fans battling to secure their place on the Lions Supporter Tour. Therefore, the Lions board of directors are in emergency talks to salvage the tournament with a solid contingency plan, which is yet to be officially confirmed.

Want to know how to secure your at the Lions Test matches whatever the outcome? We bring you the latest information including the Lions touring schedule, match fixtures and venues. Plus, we reveal how you can be the first to hear about official premium tickets and hospitality packages.

What are contingency plans for the Lions tour?

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The 2021 Lions series is very likely to be staged in the UK: it has been reported that in the event that the trip is abandoned, the Test match venues could be reversed. Instead, matches would be played at stadiums in Britain and Ireland.

With a vaccination programme underway in Britain, it's hoped that crowds or limited spectator numbers will be allowed at games by summer.

The tour may be postponed to 2022: although option is welcomed by the South Africa rugby union, it would clash with a number important Test match tournaments for northern hemisphere teams.  

Test matches to be played behind closed doors: while this option would gain broadcast revenue and avoid cancellation of the tour, it would deny the Lions support from their travelling fans.

The Lions board of directors final decision is due to be confirmed within the next 2-4 weeks.  

Current 2021 British and Irish Lions touring schedule

Warm up matches:

  • Saturday 3rd July, Lions v DHL Stormers, Cape Town, Cape Town Stadium
  • Wednesday 7th July, Lions v South Africa 'Invitational', Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
  • Saturday 10th July, Lions v Cell C Sharks, Durban, Jonsson Kings Park
  • Wednesday 14th July, Lions v South Africa 'A', Mbombela Stadium
  • Saturday 17th July, Lions v Vodacom Bulls, Pretoria, Loftus Versfeld

Test matches

  • Saturday 24th July, Lions v Springboks, Johannesburg, FNB Stadium
  • Saturday 31st July, Lions v Springboks, Cape Town, Cape Town Stadium
  • Saturday 7th August, Lions v Springboks, Johannesburg, Emirates Airline Park

*Fixtures may be subject to change due to the possible disruption of the pandemic.

Leaked UK and Ireland Lions tour schedule and fixtures

Rugby Onslaught reported that documents purporting to be the Lions scheduled have been leaked online and shared across Twitter and WhatsApp.

The documents imply that the Lions series will be held in the UK in July and August, with four Tests to be staged at all four Home Nations stadiums. If the documents are legitimate, then a tour of South Africa in 2022 is now off the cards. This also means the idea of Australia hosting the tour is extremely unlikely.

None of these fixtures have been finalised. The Lions board of directors are due to confirm tour changes within the coming weeks. We will updated this page with the latest information regarding fixtures dates, venues and hospitality options as soon as they are announced.

Lions 2021 hospitality packages: what's included?

The Suite Package includes:

  • Exclusive pitch view suite
  • 3-course buffet meal and snacks
  • Fully furnished suite facility with BIL look and feel
  • Premium Bar
  • Waiter & bar service
  • Parking - 1 parking per 4 hospitality packages (on request)
  • Hostess
  • Branding management

The Lounge Package includes:

  • Reserved CAT A ticket
  • 3-course buffet meal and snacks
  • Fully furnished suite facility with BIL look and feel
  • Premium Bar
  • Waiter & bar service
  • Parking - 1 parking per 4 hospitality packages (on request)
  • A non-viewing facility in the stadium
  • Hostess

Both hospitality package options will be available to buy for the Lions 1st, 2nd and 3rd tests.

How much will the Lions 2021 hospitality packages cost?

The Suite Package:

The estimated price of this hospitality package is £515 + VAT per person.

The Lounge Package:

The estimated price of this package is £455 + VAT per person.

*Premium ticket and hospitality package options may be subject to change. The prices listed above are estimated prices for each Test match. The final prices are TBC. We will update this page as soon as the details have been officially confirmed.

Since early 2020, thousands of fans have been trying to secure Supporter Packages for the Lions Tour to South Africa. Due to the Tour's popularity, obtaining tickets presents a challenge. So why not treat yourself to an official Lions Tour hospitality package to guarantee your place?

Register here for Lions Tour 2021 VIP tickets & hospitality updates

Potential UK and Irish host venues

Image: BT Murrayfield Stadium; Scottish Rugby Union

The Lions will take on Japan in a warm-up Test at the home of Scottish Rugby, BT Murrayfield, on 26th June. After this match, they're due to go to South Africa to play five provincial games before the three-Test series against the world champions.

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