LONDON – Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus said future tours by the British and Irish Lions should be protected as restructuring of the season in England threatens to cut the length of the 2021 series in South Africa.
With the English domestic season being revamped from 2019-20 onwards, the 2021 Lions tour is scheduled to be cut back. In previous tours, the Lions played three tests and seven additional games against local teams. However, in 2021 there will only be five additional games, making a total of eight.
“I can't really comment on the structure and amount of matches, but my first test match was against the Lions, so for me they are a very special team,” Erasmus told a press conference on Monday as he arrived with his team for Saturday’s test against England at Twickenham.
“When I was coaching at Munster, I had the chance to experience more the soul of the Lions. When you're on the other side, they are your opponents, but when you're here you almost understand what it's all about.
“I don't know if cutting it down to less matches will take that soul away, because I think the Lions will always be something big. But if there's anything that threatens the Lions' future, I think that should be taken out of the equation, because it's a wonderful organisation,” he said.