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

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    South Africa offer to host remaining matches...

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Wallabies coach furious at finding out about...

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Entertaining is not what we're here for,...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    The very best 'trick shots' in rugby show exactly why we love this game

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    The time an All Blacks great combined with uncapped Australian legend to score 80-metre stunner

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Closer look at Barrett offload which wowed fans in Rugby Championship masterclass

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Re-live one of the most iconic hat tricks in Blues history by Fiji great Rupeni Caucaunibuca

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Re-live possibly Jonny Wilkinson's best Twickenham performance against All Blacks in 2002

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 1 HOUR AGO

    The time a 112kg ball carrier went down screaming 'I've been punched'... by an 80kg scrum half

  • 9 HOURS AGO

    Argentina flanker treads fine line against Wallabies with two naughty challenges

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Imagine giving Keith Wood a right hook, and the ref sends your teammate off

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Five minutes of Faf de Klerk on-pitch shenanigans is pure gold to watch

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Head on head clash dismissed but Wiese still misses All Blacks match

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 1 DAY AGO

    WATCH: Amazing angle of Barrett's historic match-winning kick over Springboks

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Honey Badger goes mega viral with sheep saving video

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Springbok star hits back at journalist's question, says Wallabies were 'street smart'

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Austin Healey says new laws don't encourage player honesty after Exeter incident

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Tongan Thor makes EPIC assist with blind pass even Quade Cooper would be proud of

View All

Funnies

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Five minutes of Faf de Klerk on-pitch shenanigans is pure gold to watch

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Montoya calls All Blacks star a pu**y in hilarious head loss moment

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    French players lift 1+ ton car off the road ahead of Top 14 game

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Committed winger suffers unluckiest injury of the year after just TWO minutes

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    These ridiculous interviews vary from funny to downright bizarre

View All

Amateur

  • 47 WEEKS AGO

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

  • 84 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 84 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 84 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 85 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    A deeper look at Jason Robinson's incredible path to the top

  • 31 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bumping off tacklers and taking high balls, Rob Kearney had an impressive Super Rugby debut

  • 36 WEEKS AGO

    Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

  • 38 WEEKS AGO

    Tuisova's wrecking ball montage will make you grateful you never made it as a pro

  • 44 WEEKS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

View All