ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
REGISTER
LOGIN
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
Friday Jan 8, 2021

OPINION: A Lions series at home defeats the purpose of the tour itself

As the world continues to fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the British and Irish Lions 2021 tour to South Africa hangs in the balance. With a few options on the table, we look at the feasible plans and if the tour should in fact even go ahead this year. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Reports last week suggested that the tour is on the verge of being cancelled due to rising cases in South Africa but the Lions board has also been considering the possibility of hosting a UK-based tour as a contingency plan.

The South African Rugby Union hs made it clear that the tour will not be financially viable in the event of no Lions fans – around 30,000 it is estimated – at the matches. While the Lions board is said to not be overly keen on having the matches in the UK either.

So, it seems as though things are at an impasse. A Lions tour without fans is clearly not a Lions tour in anyone’s eyes. It’s not just a rugby game, it’s an experience and the partisan – and often hostile – atmosphere between both sets of supporters is something to embrace.

Without that, it’s a sad, irrelevant alternative.

Hosting the tour in the UK would also go completely against the idea of a tour for the Lions, which is probably why the board is not fully supporting the idea as a viable back-up plan.

The Lions are the tourists, not the hosts. It’s not so much a tour as an extended end-of-year Test series. And for South Africa, which has waited 12 years to face the Lions after their epic 2009 series win, deserve to recieve the Lions on their home patch.

ADVERTISEMENT

Therefore, rather than concoct back-up plans and contingencies to move the tour away from South Africa, the only alternative to having it this summer, should COVID-19 prevent it from happening, is to host it in normal circumstances in 2022.

WATCH: ‘That series will haunt me until my dying day’ – Shaun Edwards on 2009 loss

Of course, the summer is still a long way away – despite plans and preparations meaning that it really isn’t that far away in reality – and things do seem to be on the mend, slowly.

A number of COVID vaccines are now in development, and in some countries, actively on the market. National lockdowns could well reduce the brutal infection and death rate in South Africa and the British Isles also.

Essentially, there needs to be two options and a (semi) firm deadline on which to make a decision. Either the tour runs in South African in front of fans this year, or it doesn’t.

During BBC 5 Live’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast, former Lions tourist Ugo Monye and journalist Chris Jones debated these topics. Jones reckoned that a tour needed to be held away from the UK.

“The whole point of a Lions tour is the band of brothers going into hostile environments away from home. The Lions tour should be done in South Africa with travelling fans or not done at all.”

Monye, who scored an interception try in the third Test match in 2009, said that the atmosphere of a Lions match in South Africa trumps any idea of holding the tour behind closed doors.

“It plays a massive factor in the success of a team. You have got 10s of thousands of fans who have probably already booked to go there. Behind closed doors, it doesn’t interest me. I wouldn’t even table it as an option.”

Like with most things in these COVID times, time will ultimately tell as to what sort of Lions tour we will see.

RELATED VIEWING: 

Video Spacer

ADVERTISEMENT

Related Articles

  • 33 WEEKS AGO

    Manu Tuilagi will play a surprising role...

  • 34 WEEKS AGO

    Australia say they're the safe bet for RWC...

  • 34 WEEKS AGO

    Russell believes Scotland can become a Top...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Henry Arundell wonder try shows he is the real deal

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Watch: Blues score two STUNNING tries against Queensland Reds

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Racing 92 know how play ‘GORGEOUS’ rugby

  • 10 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Teddy Thomas rinses defence with BLISTERING pace

  • 12 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Every Ulster try scored in Europe this season..and it’s glorious!

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Concussion protocol extended to longer period on the sidelines

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Fans shocked as Saracens half back escapes red

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Fans outraged after shocking Owen Farrell moment

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Big Rugby Collision In South African Schools Match

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Sickening Shot Leaves Motionless

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Prince Edward skins opposition with Royal Goose Step

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Watch: Four legged friend causes chaos on the rugby field

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    George Kruis pulls off UNBELIVABLE trick shot conversion

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Disastrous moment butchers certain try in Top 14 clash

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Hooker scores masterful try

View All

Funnies

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Great Performance On The Pitch Followed By A Legendary One Off It

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Wallabies New Ad Outrages English Fans

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Prop Leaves Everyone For Dead With Epic Dummy

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Watch: The Internet Remains Undefeated In Champions Cup Build-Up

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: First It Was BoJo Now It's ScoMo

View All

Amateur

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: South African Schools Rugby Is On Fire

  • 10 WEEKS AGO

    Watch: Epic Speech Epitomises Rugby Values

  • 12 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Epic touchline conversion from Tighthead seals the deal

  • 20 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Veteran props compared to Tadhg Furlong in new viral video

  • 87 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

View All

Player Features

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    England name strong team to face Australia

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Wales in danger of Willie Le Roux masterclass

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Luther Burrell hits out at racist jokes in rugby

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Potential England starting line up

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    England winger tests positive for Covid after arriving in Australia for summer tour

View All