The British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa is under threat of cancellation or postponement due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Lions are scheduled to head to South Africa for an eight-match tour, starting on July 3rd, with Warren Gatland's team scheduled to take on the World Champion Springboks in three tests, on July 24th, 31st and August 7th.
Additionally, one tour match is set to be played against a South African Invitational side and South Africa A on July 7th and 14th respectively.
Tour matches against the Stormers, Sharks and Bulls would complete the tour on July 3rd, 10th and 17th respectively.
Prior to arriving in South Africa, the Lions are scheduled to host a home fixture against Japan as a warm-up for the tour in Murrayfield.
However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has put these plans in doubt, despite the rolling out fo the vaccine.
The Lions will hold talks throughout January
#LionsRugby update on the 2021 South Africa Tourhttps://t.co/2O86gylDIS
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) January 2, 2021
In a statement released by the Lions on Saturday, the suggestion that the tour would be affected by the pandemic was addressed.
“As you would expect, we are progressing with our plans based on the latest information available to us,” British & Irish Lions managing director Ben Calveley said.
“However, given the uncertainty that continues to be caused by the coronavirus pandemic both in South Africa, as well as the UK and Ireland, we are very aware of the need to make a timely decision on the best way forward.
"Not least so that we can provide clarity to supporters booked to travel to South Africa next summer, or those thinking of making the trip.
“To date, the Lions Board has had repeated meetings to discuss all scenarios available and is in constant dialogue. It will meet throughout January and into February, if required, to review all relevant information and data.
"After further consultation with SA Rugby, we will update on the outcome of these meetings in due course."
“In the meantime, we continue regular discussion with our partners in the UK, Ireland and South Africa, including the British High Commission in Pretoria, the Irish Embassy and various government departments, to ascertain as much information as possible on this fast-evolving, complex situation.”
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