South Africa Rugby president Mark Alexander has confirmed they are in discussion with World Rugby to gain permission to arrange at least three Tests before the Boks play the Lions next year. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 ticketson our website at exclusively discounted prices.
The Springboks are scheduled to play a three-Test series
against the British & Irish Lions between 24 July and 7 August next year.
However, as it stands, the world champions are set to head
into the series without any international action since the 2019 World Cup
final. This after the Covid-19 pandemic led to the Boks not playing any games
But Alexander says that SA Rugby is looking into the
possibility of organizing a few Tests in preparation for the Lions series.
‘We are looking at that, we are busy with that,’ he said. ‘We
are looking at having a couple of games. We will confirm that once we have
confirmed with World Rugby that we can have games.
‘You know, we can’t just organize a game with another
country. We have to get permission from World Rugby and we are seeking
permission to have at least three or four games before we play the series.’
Alexander added that SA Rugby’s confident it’ll be granted
permission because the 2021 rugby calendar is still under construction and a
long way from being finalized.
‘The calendar is not finalized; we have only finalized the
rugby calendar for this year. Next year’s calendar is still under discussion.
One thing that is for sure is that it is still in July that we will be playing
the British & Irish Lions series. That is confirmed. That is the only one
confirmed for next year. World Rugby is still in discussion as to what is going
to happen with the global calendar.
‘The way things are looking now. I think the calendar will
remain the same for next year as well and we will probably look at changing the
calendar in 2022 – to accommodate the Pro Rugby League, the Currie Cup, Inbound
and Outbound Tours, and the Rugby Championship – but it is under discussion.’
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For many players, honored enough to play against the combined might of the four home nations, it is the nadir of their careers, whether it be at provincial or Test level. For many supporters, it is a 12-year long wait to build new memories and remember fondly the year that the Lions returned to once again wrestle pride and supremacy away from the Springboks.
That was the decree of Springbok legend John Smit on
Thursday when the series sponsor was revealed to be Castle Lager for next
year’s tour at FNB Stadium, which will host the first Test between the two
combatants on July 24 next year.
Said the former captain of the Boks, who led the national team in the hardcore 2009 series: “One of the best experiences and the best stories I have ever told, was my experience playing for the Sharks against the British and Irish Lions in Durban.”
I think it was my second first-class game, I was
19-years-old, Smit continued and to be able to go on 12 years later and to
experience it full on was a privilege. The youngsters who get that opportunity,
even if I ever only played the Lions in 97, I would have held onto that thing.
I still have that jersey.
“It is just something that you can’t mimic anywhere else and that experience is what will get the youngsters next year super hungry to fight for that green and gold jersey and, hopefully, hold onto it.”
It was a sentiment shared by fellow Bok legend Beast
Mtwarira and 2019 World Rugby player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit, who will
no doubt be involved in 2021. Beast was a newfangled Springbok in 2009, having
made his debut for the Boks a year earlier against Wales and the 2019 World Cup
winner recalled his Lions experience fondly with a smile and a chuckle.
“I think it is surreal playing against the Lions, it certainly was for me to be a part of that 2000 team, said Beast in his trademark baritone. It comes around every 12 years, so not a lot of players get the opportunity to play against the Lions.”
“The Lions tour was massive for me. To rub shoulders with the likes of Juan Smith and Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield, guys who had won the World Cup in 2007, was just a huge honor. The atmosphere at a Lions game is just incredible, it is nothing like you have ever seen.”
“I was raring to go with the energy and excitement, Beast continued later of the 2009 Test series. My advice to the young guys would be, a part of it is to just enjoy the occasion, take it for what it is, because it is a huge honor. Guys that have won the world cup, haven’t had the chance to face the Lions, so you have to embrace it for what it is and just go out there and play your best rugby.”
For PSTD, if he is fit and remains so, it will be another
feather in the 28-year-old’s cap. The 2019 World Cup winner was 17-years-old
when John Smit and Co rectified the disastrous defeat of 1997 12 years later,
and when asked about his feelings around the upcoming tour, it sparked a joyous
memory of sibling rivalry and love.
All three games, me and my parents and my brothers watched
at our house and I always say if you watch a Springbok game at our house, you
don’t want to be a supporter there because it is just crazy there. Everything
gets duplicated there.
“For instance, I remember when Heinrich Brussow in 2009 just picked up one of the players as a bag of potatoes and threw him off the field and then, the same thing happened in our living room. So, after the game, we always went to play and always dreamt about playing for the Boks and against the Lions.”
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