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Dates of Lions tour to South Africa may change, says Roux

Filed on June 8, 2020
SA Rugby is hoping to get the green light from the sports ministry in mid-June to permit a resumption of training (Reuters)

World champions South Africa may change the dates of a three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions next year, national body chief executive Jurie Roux said on Monday.

The eagerly awaited visit is scheduled for July and August 2021 and the Tests in Soweto, Cape Town and Johannesburg clash with the rearranged Tokyo Olympics.

But a possible new, post-coronavirus pandemic global rugby calendar could see the tour dates change rather than the Games in Japan.

Roux said "a move to host the tour later in 2021 was being considered to dovetail with all other Test scheduling conversations taking place.

"It would be a disappointment if the Lions series had to be played behind closed doors," he added, referring to the current crowd-less sport situation to combat the Covid-19 disease.

There has been speculation about northern and southern hemisphere rugby date changes, including staging the Six Nations and Rugby Championship in March and April.

And instead of July and November Tests, an October-November window has been mooted with northern teams travelling first, then hosting internationals.

Roux hinted that rugby could resume not later than August in South Africa, where the virus death toll edged close to 1,000 on Monday with a five-tier national lockdown at level three.

SA Rugby is hoping to get the green light from the sports ministry in mid-June to permit a resumption of training.

The last rugby match in the republic was on March 14 when the Sharks defeated the Stormers in Super Rugby.


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