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

  • 18 WEEKS AGO

    Montage of HUGE hits and brilliant tries...

  • 18 WEEKS AGO

    Ellis Genge puts on his boxing gloves ready...

  • 18 WEEKS AGO

    Crazy scenes as player deliberately kicks...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 11 WEEKS AGO

    Carlos Spencer Proves Why He Is Rugby's Greatest Ever Magician

  • 16 WEEKS AGO

    Jero De La Fuente pulls Hamstring and uses it to score incredible try

  • 16 WEEKS AGO

    Waisale Serevi: The greatest sevens player ever

  • 16 WEEKS AGO

    David Campese: The Aussie all time great

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    The man who once raced a Cheetah: Bryan Habana

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Owen Farrell’s Savage Shot At Kurt-Lee Arendse Caught On Ref Mic

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    England Hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie Once Again Gets Called Out For Tackle Technique

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Faf de Klerk Pushes All The Right Buttons To Wind Jonny Hill Up

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Two Of World Rugby’s Best Set To Go Head-To-Head

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Los Pumas Backrow Marcos Kremer Handed Mid-Range Ban Follow Red In Scotland Match

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Finn Russell Sets Up Worldie Try As Scotland Flex Their Muscles Against 14-Man Argentina

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Kyle Sinckler pushes insane amount on the leg press

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Harry Potter misfires comeback spell as Bath defeat Leicester

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Lions Star Jordan Hendrikse Smashes 70m Penalty Kick

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Watch Adam Hastings hit 50m+ match winning drop goal in extraordinary scenes

View All

Funnies

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Joe Marler gives another hilarious post-match interview

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Throwback to the most awkward interview of all time

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Brutal Story Reveals How Tough Eddie Jones Is On His Staff

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Stuart Hogg Scares The Pants Off Duhan van der Merwe

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    One Year On From Freddie Steward's Brilliant Post Springbok Match Interview

View All

Amateur

  • 18 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 18 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 19 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

  • 19 WEEKS AGO

    Hilarious Club House Antics Shows Rugby Spirit

  • 25 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: South African Schools Rugby Is On Fire

View All

Player Features

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Joe Marchant to leave Harlequins after ten years

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Missing South Africa player Sbu Nkosi found 'safe and sound'

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    South Africa winger Sbu Nkosi declared as missing person

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Joe Marler gives another hilarious post-match interview

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Francois Hougaard signs for premiership side on short term deal

View All