Relief after Joburg-based Lions added to British and Irish Lions Tour fixtures
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The Lions Rugby Company was the big winner, if such a statement can be declared during a pandemic, regarding the British and Irish Lions tour to the country later this year.
The Joburg-based Lions were on Friday added to the matches the BI Lions will play when they begin their eight-game fixture list in South Africa in July.
Due to the continued dangers posed by Covid-19, all matches will be played in Gauteng and Cape Town, and the Joburg Lions will have the first honour of hosting the illustrious tour team at Emirates Airline Park, replacing an encounter against a South Africa Invitational XV, which was scheduled to be played in Port Elizabeth.
Managing director of Ellis Park Stadium Limited, Pieter Burger, expressed his relief at the decision, and his continued hope that there will be fan participation, not only at "The Park", but also at the three other venues: Loftus Versfeld, Cape Town Stadium and FNB Stadium.
Burger said in a statement released by the union on Friday evening: "We are relieved to have clarity on the BI Lions tour in South Africa.
"Next to a Rugby World Cup," he continued, "it is the biggest event in world rugby with a very rich tradition. I only pray that the government grabs this opportunity with both hands and trusts our experience and world class facilities to safely deliver the spectacle with spectators.
"South Africans need this, our industry needs this. Not only to survive financially, but to lift our spirits and shift our focus from the pandemic and subsequent massive impact it has had socio-economically on the people of this country," Burger concluded.
The Lions play the Lions on Saturday, July 3. Kick-off is scheduled for 5pm.
BI Lions tour fixtures after the Lions:
- Wednesday 7 July, 7pm: v Sharks @ Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
- Saturday 10 July, 5pm: v Bulls @ Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
- Wednesday 14 July, 7pm: v South Africa 'A' @ Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
- Saturday 17 July, 5pm: v DHL Stormers @ Cape Town Stadium
- Saturday 24 July, 5pm: First Test v Springboks @ Cape Town Stadium
- Saturday 31 July, 5pm: Second Test v Springboks @ FNB Stadium, Johannesburg
- Saturday 7 August, 5pm: Third Test v Springboks @ FNB Stadium