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Angoose
03 Jan 21 12:17
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Date Joined: 18 Jul 02
| Topic/replies: 24,312 | Blogger: Angoose's blog
The British and Irish Lions board will hold talks in the coming weeks to decide whether this summer's tour to South Africa can go ahead.

The tour is due to take place in July and August but reports suggest it could be cancelled or delayed until 2022.

It comes amid a surge of Covid-19 cases in South Africa and the UK.

The Lions said given the "uncertainty" caused by coronavirus, they were "very aware of the need to make a timely decision on the best way forward".

"The Lions Board has had repeated meetings to discuss all scenarios available and is in constant dialogue," said Lions managing director Ben Calveley.

"It will meet throughout January and into February, if required, to review all relevant information and data. After further consultation with SA Rugby, we will update on the outcome of these meetings in due course."

Calveley added: "As you would expect, we are progressing with our plans based on the latest information available to us.

"However, given the uncertainty that continues to be caused by the coronavirus pandemic both in South Africa, as well as the UK and Ireland, we are very aware of the need to make a timely decision on the best way forward; not least so that we can provide clarity to supporters booked to travel to South Africa next summer, or those thinking of making the trip."

The Lions are scheduled to play three Tests against the world champions, in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Gauteng, starting on 24 July.

It is thought the tour would not "be commercially viable" if supporters cannot travel.

The Lions were open to moving the tour to the autumn but talks held last summer slowed.

The UK government reported 53,285 daily coronavirus cases on Friday as the nation struggles to deal with a new variant of the virus.

It is the fourth day in a row in which new infections surpassed 50,000, with a record 55,892 cases reported on New Year's Eve.

South Africa has also seen a spike in cases following the identification of a new Covid-19 variant.

There were 16,726 cases reported in the nation's most recent daily total, according to Johns Hopkins University, with a record high of 18,000 also coming on 31 December.

A Lions statement added: "In the meantime, we continue regular discussion with our partners in the UK, Ireland and South Africa, including the British High Commission in Pretoria, the Irish Embassy and various government departments, to ascertain as much information as possible on this fast-evolving, complex situation."

The Lions are set to play eight matches in total on the tour, including warm-up games against invitational sides and Super Rugby teams.
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