British & Irish Lions 2021

Premiership final won't move for British & Irish Lions SA tour

2019-12-05 19:42
Warren Gatland (Getty)

Cape Town - English Premiership organisers say they won't change the date for the 2021 final despite it taking place a week before the British & Irish Lions tour starts in South Africa.

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The tour itinerary was announced on Wednesday, with the British & Irish Lions to open their account against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday, July 3, 2021.

That's just a week after the Premiership final at Twickenham, and while the PRO14 has already moved its dates, the governing body of English domestic rugby won't follow suit.

Lions coach Warren Gatland had earlier expressed his concern regarding proper preparation for the tour, but Premiership Rugby remains firm in its stance.

The English governing body commented on the matter via a press statement:

"More than 12 months ago, alongside the RFU and RPA, we announced the season structure for Premiership Rugby until 2022, which gave everyone clarity on the future.

"This joint agreement, which included a number of player welfare initiatives, detailed the dates of the Premiership finals in 2020, 2021 and 2022. The 2021 Premiership final will be on June 26 at Twickenham, as we re-confirmed to the Lions some weeks ago. Talks are not ongoing over this issue, and we are glad to have the opportunity to confirm that so any doubts can be removed.

"In 2017 World Rugby's San Francisco agreement set out a new global calendar to run until 2032, which included the movement of the Premiership Rugby season into June aligning with Super Rugby. The San Francisco agreement allowed us to set the future season structure for Premiership Rugby."

Premiership Rugby concluded the statement by wishing the Lions well on their tour to South Africa:

"We welcome Wednesday's confirmation of the 2021 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa, which starts on Saturday, July 3. Since 1997 Premiership Rugby and its clubs have been incredible supporters of the Lions, providing 124 players for those tours.

"We wish the Lions every success in South Africa when again we expect our clubs to supply a large number of players for the trip to play the world champions. We will continue our amicable discussions with the Lions over their tour operational requirements."

The British & Irish Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891. In that time, the Lions have won four Test series, lost eight and drew one. Their overall record against the Springboks is played 46, won 17, lost 23 and drawn six.

Full British & Irish Lions 2021 tour schedule:

Saturday, July 3: British & Irish Lions v Stormers - Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Wednesday, July 7: British & Irish Lions v SA ‘Invitational’ - Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Saturday, July 10: British & Irish Lions v Sharks - Kings Park, Durban

Wednesday, July 14: British & Irish Lions v South Africa 'A' - Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Saturday, July 17: British & Irish Lions v Bulls - Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Saturday, July 24 (1st Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions - FNB Stadium, Johannesburg

Saturday, July 31 (2nd Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions - Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Saturday, August 7 (3rd Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions - Ellis Park, Johannesburg

- Compiled by Herman Mostert


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