Home Sport Rugby An opportunity of a lifetime

An opportunity of a lifetime

34
SHARE

“We only get to play them once every 12 years and every one of the eight matches in 2021 will be a unique event.”

South Africa’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has described the British & Irish Lions visit to South Africa as a once in a lifetime opportunity for South African players.

Erasmus, who played against the British & Irish Lions in 1997, said there were South Africans who had played in three World Cups and who had won a World Cup, but who had never had the privilege of playing the Lions.

“Outside of a World Cup final, it doesn’t get bigger than a Lions Test series,” said Erasmus. “It is something to be cherished. The Lions have not lost a series since they were last here a decade ago and they will present next-level challenge in 18 months’ time.”

The Springboks beat Wales in the World Cup semi-finals before defeating England 32-12 in the final. Players from both teams are expected to make up the core of the 2021 Lions squad, but Erasmus played down talk of the Lions being a World Cup revenge showdown.

“It is much bigger than any one team playing us,” said Erasmus. “The World Cup is history. Those results can never be changed and they will mean nothing when the very best of England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland combine to make up a formidable British & Irish Lions line-up.”

Erasmus is a huge fan of the Lions and reiterated the importance of the visitors to world rugby.

“We only get to play them once every 12 years and every one of the eight matches in 2021 will be a unique event.”

The Lions will play five successive matches, starting against the Stormers in a historic first ever international rugby match at Cape Town Stadium, with the venue also playing host to the second in the three-Test series. The opening Test will be at the FNB Stadium and the expected capacity of 88 000 would make the event the highest attended in a Lions Test in the professional era.

The final Test will be played at Emirates Airline Park, South African rugby’s spiritual home and the venue for South Africa’s 1995 World Cup final triumph against the All Blacks.

The British & Irish Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891. In that time, the Lions have 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.

Registration for interest in tickets for the 2021 British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa is at www.lionstour2021.co.za.