Ten-match British Lions schedule in S.Africa unveiled

The British and Irish Lions are to play 10 matches on their tour of South Africa next year, including three Tests against the world champion Springboks, organisers said on Thursday.


The Tests against the Boks will take place on June 20 in Durban, June 27 in Pretoria and July 4 in Johannesburg.


No Test has been scheduled for Cape Town, the headquarters of SA Rugby.


Jonathan Stones, managing director of SA Rugby, predicted the tour would be a box-office smash on a par with South Africa’s hosting of the 1995 rugby World Cup.


His view was backed up Paul Vaughan, managing director of England Rugby Travel (ERT) and business operations director at the Rugby Football Union (RFU), who is expecting record numbers of travelling fans for a Lions tour.

 

More than 10,000 supporters have already registered their interest in going on tour with ERT and Vaughan said, in a statement: “The British and Irish Lions tours are very special occasions that happen once every four years.


“They are truly unique sporting experiences which is why so many supporters want to be part of them.


“The tour of South Africa combines some fascinating rugby encounters in the early stages with three immense Test matches against the Rugby World Cup winners. Mix this up with the chance to enjoy and explore South Africa and you can see why so many fans want to go.”

 

The Lions will play matches in seven cities over a period of six weeks, commencing with a game against a Highveld XV in Rustenburg on May 30.

The tour schedule includes six weekend fixtures and four midweek matches. Apart from the three Test matches, there is also a fixture against the Emerging Springboks on June 23.


The Lions have toured South Africa on 12 previous occasions, with the first tour to this country taking place in 1891.


The last Lions tour, in 2005, ended in an embarrassing 3-0 whitewash against New Zealand and widespread criticism of coach Clive Woodward’s decision to opt for an unusually large squad of 44 players for an 11-match campaign.



British & Irish Lions Schedule


May 30: Highveld XV, Rustenburg
June 3 :Golden Lions, Johannesburg
June 6 : Cheetahs, Bloemfontein
June 10: Sharks, Durban
June 13: Western Province, Cape Town
June 16/17: Coastal XV, Port Elizabeth
June 20: First Test Durban
June 23: Emerging Boks, Cape Town
June 27: Second Test, Pretoria
July 4: Third Test, Johannesburg

Sapa-AFP – Rugbyweek.com   

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