Lions fans are still allowed to travel to South Africa despite the risk that the tour will not go ahead with frantic attempts to reconfirm the schedule and clarify the Covid-19 protocols
- Lions chairman Jason Leonard hopes fans can travel to South Africa
- There is no official confirmation yet whether the Lions tour will take place
- Discussions are underway on planning and to clarify the Covid-19 protocols
British and Irish rugby fans have been hoping that a limited number will be allowed to travel to South Africa to support the Lions – although there is still a risk that the tour will not take place.
With three months until the first game is set to take place, the Lions officials remain in the dark as to how events will turn out. At the end of last month they decided to continue with the tour – after hosting home games against the Springboks was considered a backup – but now frantic efforts are being made to reconfirm the schedule and clarify the Covid-19 protocols .
The best scenario is for the tour to be played in full, with all eight matches taking place in front of spectators across South Africa – subject to guidelines imposed by the government there.
There is still hope that British and Irish fans can travel to South Africa for the Lions tour
There is still a risk that the tour will be canceled due to the coronavirus crisis
Asked if there is still a chance that some of the supporters of these islands will be able to attend the games, Lions Chairman Jason Leonard said: “Absolutely. We hope there will be crowds, but we don’t know what level it will be.
We’d hope that would be fans from the UK and Ireland too, but because it’s so fluid, we can’t say that at the moment. We hope that if we move on in a few months, that could very well be possible.
Of course, everyone involved would love fans in the stadium – our fans too, not just the South African fans.
‘We are still a few months away and we hope this can happen to some spectators. The alternative is no Lions tour and a Lions tour without fans is better than no tour at all. It’s pretty simple. ‘
Unfortunately for anyone involved in the contingency planning process, there is still so much doubt about everything from venues and matches completed to Covid ‘bubble’ restrictions and whether or not crowds are allowed.
There is still no absolute certainty that the whole event will take place at all, such is the volatility of the pandemic situation.
While Leonard insisted that continuing a tour was’ not a gamble ‘, he was asked about the possibility of cancellation, saying,’ We will of course have in mind, there is a possibility.
It had already been said that the Lions could organize games against South Africa
‘The pandemic has created enormous uncertainty in that area, so we have to recognize that it may be a possibility, but we are not thinking about that. We are committed to helping South Africa with the journey and move on. ‘
To sum up the ongoing lack of clarity, Leonard added, “ The only thing that’s 100 percent is we won’t have a traditional Lions tour in any form. We won’t get the tour we want, South Africa won’t get the tour they want, the players most likely won’t get the tour they want, the fans won’t get the fan experience they want. ‘
One man still desperate to tour is Hamish Watson, and Scotland’s flanker roster was strengthened when he was named Six Nations Player of the Championship. The 29-year-old received 35 percent of more than 125,000 public votes to claim the prize, ahead of 2020 winner, French scrum half Antoine Dupont.