Three contingency plans are being considered for the British & Irish Lions' tour of South Africa.
A spike in Covid-19 cases and a new 'mutant' strain of the virus in both South Africa and the UK has put the Lions tour, scheduled to take place from 26 June to 7 August this year, in jeopardy.
According to reports, the Lions board is considering three contingency plans:
- Playing the three Tests in Britain and Ireland. With a vaccination programme underway in Britain, there is a realistic prospect of having crowds at the games – even if spectator numbers could be limited.
- Postponing the tour until 2022. This would suit SA Rugby but see it clash with lucrative tours by northern hemisphere teams to the southern hemisphere.
- Sticking with the current tour schedule but playing the games in South Africa without spectators. This would deprive the Lions of their travelling contingent of fans but ensure broadcast money and preserve the Lions' touring tradition.
These plans will be discussed in meetings that will take place over January and early February.
A final decision is expected to be taken in mid-February after consultation with SA Rugby.