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Lions board to meet to discuss offer to switch tour from SA to Australia

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British and Irish Lions bosses will meet to discuss a sensational offer to switch this summer’s series from South Africa to Australia.

The proposal to move rugby’s greatest tour 7,000 miles was made on Saturday by Hamish McLennan, chairman of Rugby Australia.

It is one of four options the Lions board will debate this week. Cancellation of the tour is not amongst them.

“Ultimately it’s their call,” McLennan told the Sydney Morning Herald . “What we learnt from the Tri Nations last year and the tennis that’s happening now is that Australia can successfully stage global tournaments in a COVID world.

“It’s particularly tough in the UK and South Africa at the moment and I believe the more international rugby that gets played here, the better. We’re here to help.”

Lions fans (above and below) descended on Australia in huge numbers for 2013 tour
Lions fans (above and below) descended on Australia in huge numbers for 2013 tour


The other options on the table for the Lions are continuing with the original tour to South Africa without fans, postponement or switching matches to the UK and Ireland.

Springboks star Faf de Klerk told Mirror Sport last month that if playing in South Africa was a non-starter, he would be happy to travel abroad, adding: “Anything but lose the opportunity.”

Organisers are believed to have sounded out major stadiums in the UK and Ireland about availability.

Lions fans traditionally travel in huge numbers but that is not going to be possible this year
Lions fans traditionally travel in huge numbers but that is not going to be possible this year

Any conversation about playing the tour in Australia would need to involve the national government in Canberra.

The prospect of authorities allowing fans to travel from the Home Nations appears remote after Perth, in Western Australia, was put into a five-day lockdown yesterday following its first locally acquired case in 10 months.

Even without travelling supporters McLennan believes matches would still sell out across the country due to the “multi-generational expat community for both South Africa and the UK” Down Under.

“I’m sure we would get a fantastic turnout,” he added. “The world needs to keep moving in these times.”



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