The Lions are confident that next year’s South Africa tour won’t be undermined by the rescheduling of the Olympics, because the three Tests against the Springboks will begin within the evening, to avoid clashing with events in Tokyo. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.
Sports mail understands that the international fixtures, in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Soweto on July 24, July 31 and August 7 respectively, will begin at 6pm civil time – 1am in Japan.
That should limit any adverse impact of the Olympics being postponed a year, to a slot which directly cuts across the Lions’ series against the reigning world champions.
Sources have indicated that the authorities in South Africa are unconcerned about the very fact that this marquee rugby event in their country will happen at a time when the eyes of the sporting world are going to be on the Far East. They still anticipate British and Irish fans flocking in their thousands, alongside strong broadcast viewing figures.
Within the house unions, there’s a firm conviction that the tour is going to be popular and commercially successful, in spite of the Olympics taking up that precious window within the calendar.
Lions director Ben Cleverley said: ‘We are determined to play our part in what is going to be a unprecedented summer of sport. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.
‘There shouldn’t be any direct clashes between Lions matches and Olympic events given the time difference between South Africa and Tokyo, so fans shouldn’t miss out on any action. We expect an incredible series against the planet champions.’
Meanwhile, Sports mail understands that Rugby Australia has notified the Lions hierarchy that they ‘stand ready’ to host a tour next summer, within the event of the coronavirus pandemic threatening South Africa’s ability to stage the eight-match event as planned.
At this stage, there are more cases Down Under than in South Africa, where officials are adamant that there’s no prospect of any disruption, amid a military-enforced lockdown within the country.
However, the Australian union – rumored to be battling debts of around £30million and fearing a bleak financial outlook – is assumed to possess indicated their willingness and skill to rearrange a back-up 2021 tour at short notice if such an intervention is required.
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