The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down and with uncertainty enveloping major sporting events, it was good to hear SA Rugby CEO confirm that the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa will still take place in 2021.
The Olympic Games, scheduled for Tokyo this year, has already been postponed until 2021, while many of the big annual sporting events have either been rescheduled for later in the year, or completely cancelled in 2020.
Speaking to a big media contingent via an online media conference, Roux confirmed that the British & Irish Lions tour will go ahead in 2021.
“I can talk about the British & Irish Lions for a really long time – after the Rugby World Cup it’s probably the biggest thing in rugby and we get the opportunity to play them only once every 12 years,” said Roux.
“The most important thing at this stage is that the tour is going on. There may be a date change, but we are able to manage that.
“We’re very excited to welcome them to South Africa, but also about a completely different commercial model – we basically tore up the textbook and will share revenues, logos, IP and commercial value with the Lions.
“This is something that will come in very handy in a post-COVID world in terms of the revenues it will create for us, and it will also help us to operate as a going concern going forward.”
oel Stransky, a Springbok RWC-winner in 1995, missed out on playing against the British & Irish Lions in 1997, when he was playing club rugby for English giants, Leicester.
Many of his team-mates at the Tigers in England toured South Africa with the Lions in 1997, including captain Martin Johnson, and Stransky got some unique insight into how “the other guys” view the tour.
“Once every four years, players and fans from different nations come together, join hands, put their differences aside and combine as they try to beat one of the old foes from the Southern Hemisphere,” said Stransky to the SA Rugby Podcast.
“The Lions are steeped in tradition, culture, respect and absolute loyalty to that magnificent red jersey – it can never be taken for granted or underestimated.
“Next year will be just magnificent – they will come here with a very strong squad and thousands and thousands of supporters will make the journey to enjoy our country and to be part of this great tour.”
Registration for interest in tickets for the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa is still open at www.lionstour2021.co.za. Check out the tour schedule (as it currently stands) and more by clicking here