The British & Irish Lions will reveal the dates and venues of their tour to South Africa in 2021 on Wednesday morning, but it is thought there has been no movement on England’s Premiership making space for a home match the Lions want to play before departing. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Warren Gatland in a stand-off with Premiership over fixture clashes ahead of British and Irish Lions 2021 South Africa tour
Warren Gatland in a stand-off with Premiership over fixture clashes ahead of British and Irish Lions 2021 South Africa tour

The opening game of the eight-match trip in South Africa is expected to be on 3 July, and the Lions’ head coach Warren Gatland wants to play a warm-up – probably against Test-quality opposition – on the weekend of 26 June, to help with the preparation and raise cash to fund player release. But that date clashes with the final of the Premiership at Twickenham.

Players based in Wales, Scotland and Ireland would be clear to have two weeks of tour preparation because the Pro14 is staging its final on 19 June – and Gatland wants the English league to follow suit to enable all England’s top stars to play a full part.

If the Premiership does not budge, the Lions could play a warm-up fixture anyway, and do without the players from the two club sides involved. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Fixture pile-up

The opposition has not been confirmed, although the likelihood of a reported fixture with France in Paris is thought to have receded.

Warren Gatland in a stand-off with Premiership over fixture clashes ahead of British and Irish Lions 2021 South Africa tour
Warren Gatland in a stand-off with Premiership over fixture clashes ahead of British and Irish Lions 2021 South Africa tour

The Premiership has yet to publish a detailed schedule for its 2020-21 season, so it is not clear if they have wriggle room but Gatland said recently: “They have said they are not moving their final which I find very disappointing.”

It remains to be seen if a role in the stand-off could be played by the ­Premiership’s new investors CVC Capital Partners. The equity house has a stake in the league and the Six Nations, and the latter organization shares much of its administration with the Lions.

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