Every four years the British & Irish Lions unveil a tantalizing tour schedule and invite thousands of supporters to sign up for the trip of a lifetime, in this instance to South Africa in 2021. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

British and Irish Lions Tour: Truncated tour of South Africa removes the last vestige of romance from Lions
British and Irish Lions Tour: Truncated tour of South Africa removes the last vestige of romance from Lions

A three-Test series on Springbok soil remains one of the sport’s truly great adventures but seldom has there been a stronger sense of the golden goose being potentially suffocated by the constraints of self-interest and the global calendar.

Amid all the anticipation of a gripping three-Test series against the reigning world champions which could break all previous box office records, it is important to examine the small print. Not only have Premiership Rugby now formally slammed the door shut on any possibility of shifting the date of its 2021 final on 26 June to accommodate crucial extra preparation time but the scheduling of only two early midweek games sums up the fast-changing times.

To a great extent, it signals the end for that most time-honored of rugby characters, the midweek dirt-tracker. Much of the glorious Lions myth is built upon the twin pillars of genuine competition for Test places and the all-for-one ethos of those cast in supporting roles.

An eight-match tour with no competitive warm-up component means the head coach Warren Gatland can travel with a smaller squad who, for the most part, will know their place in the pecking order before embarkation. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

There are player welfare benefits from playing fewer games and not having to worry about a midweek fixture in the build-up to the first Test but eight-match Lions tours 2025 and 2029 will be the same threaten to remove any last vestige of romance attached to the concept.

Even if the players bond instantly the timescale is almost insanely tight if Gatland wants to mold a side capable of beating a pumped-up South Africa in front of nearly 90,000 supporters at Soweto’s FNB Stadium on 24 July.

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