The itinerary for the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa was announced on Wednesday, with Warren Gatland’s side set to undertake an eight-game tour.
The Lions Tour will span the length and breadth of South Africa, visiting some of the country’s most impressive stadiums culminating in three Test matches against the newly-crowned Rugby World Cup champions, the Springboks.
FNB Stadium in Johannesburg will host the first Test on Saturday 24th July 2021 and with a capacity of approximately 88,000 spectators, a sell-out crowd would be higher than the 84,188 who witnessed the series decider against the Wallabies in Sydney in 2001.
The second Test match follows a week later at the Cape Town Stadium – the first Lions Test in the Mother City since 1997 – before the tourists return to Gauteng for the final Test on Saturday 7th August 2021 at Emirates Airline Park.
The combined capacity for the three Test venues is just below 205,000, which could make the three Tests on the 2021 tour the best-attended since professionalism, potentially surpassing the 192,972 people who attended the three Tests in Australia in 2013.
The eight-game schedule includes six weekend fixtures: three against Vodacom Super Rugby teams the Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers, and two midweek fixtures against an invitational side in Port Elizabeth and South Africa ‘A’ in Nelspruit.
The Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891. In that time, the visitors won four Test series, lost eight and drew one. Their overall record against the Springboks is played 46, won 17, lost 23 and drawn six.
Ben Calveley, managing director of the British & Irish Lions, said:
“Lions Tours are a truly unique experience, and we are expecting tens of thousands of supporters to travel to South Africa in 2021 – with this schedule, we’re certain that every one of them will come back with amazing memories.”
Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, said of the 2021 tour:
“We are delighted to announce the itinerary in conjunction with the British & Irish Lions, and we will continue progressing our preparations to provide travelling supporters with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
British and Irish Lions Tour Schedule
Saturday 3 July: British & Irish Lions v DHL Stormers – Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town.
Wednesday 7 July: British & Irish Lions v SA ‘Invitational’ – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth.
Saturday 10 July: British & Irish Lions v Cell C Sharks – Jonsson Kings Park, Durban.
Wednesday 14 July: British & Irish Lions v South Africa ‘A’ – Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit.
Saturday 17 July: British & Irish Lions v Vodacom Bulls – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.
Saturday 24 July (first Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions – FNB Stadium, Johannesburg.
Saturday 31 July (second Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions – Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town.
Saturday 7 August (third Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions – Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg.