The British and Irish Lions' match against South Africa is likely to be held in the UK, following a huge endorsement from South Africa's Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa.
The British and Irish Lions will take on the world champions – the Springboks – in a three-Test series from July 3 to August 7. However, with South Africa's lockdown restrictions in place, in terms of a no-spectator policy, the prospect of a tour of South Africa seems highly unlikely.
Thousands of British and Irish fans typically travel to the Southern Hemisphere for these tours, which take place every four years.
To make matters worse, South African media reported that Mthethwa had indicated that allowing fans to return to stadiums appeared to be the last item on the government's to-do list.
South African fans have been banned from attending matches since March 2020.
When asked about spectators being able to return to the stadiums during the Cricket South Africa press conference, Thethwa said: “I think it is too early to talk about opening matches and so on.”
He explained: “The level we are at at the present time shows very clearly that sports, arts and culture are sectors that work with a large number of people and will certainly be at the end of the entire process of opening up sectors of the world.” Economy”.
South Africa's Sports Minister has certainly left rugby fans in a state of uncertainty.
On the other hand, British media revealed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set a “road map” to lift Covid-19 restrictions by June 21.
the Mirror It was reported that Johnson said that up to 10,000 spectators could be allowed in venues that can accommodate more than 40,000 spectators after May 17, with the aim of lifting all restrictions on June 21.
This leaves staging the series in the UK and Ireland as a more attractive option, albeit an unprecedented time in the history of rugby's greatest team.
Meanwhile, Australia has also offered to host the tour.
The final decision on the future of the 2021 Tour will be made at the end of March.
sources: Sports24, The Mirror and Times Live