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British and Irish Lions tickets

British Lions commit to South Africa tour

The British and Irish Lions have committed to touring South Africa this summer, as planned in July and August. During the 2021 tour, there was a lot of speculation about the Covid-19 pandemic. Considering contingency plans to host matches in the UK and Australia. But the Lions Board has now confirmed it would prefer to continue the tour to South Africa. The Rugby Fans can buy British and Irish Lions tickets 2021 from our website at exclusively discounted prices.

Jason Leonard, chairman of the British & Irish Lions, said: “After reviewing information on the various emergency scenarios under consideration, I can confirm that the board plans to continue in South Africa in 2021.

“We recognize that much work still must be done to implement a robust Covid-19 countermeasure to form sure a successful, safe and uninterrupted inspection. SA Rugby will have our full support to assist implement this plan.”

However, there are still big question marks over. Whether fans can attend matches – whether in South Africa or traveling from abroad. Playing games behind closed doors would have a big financial impact on SA Rugby. And will still be unsure for the tour.

SA Rugby chairman Mark Alexander said: “We appreciate the Belief of the Lions and share their desire to see a safe and successful tour. And”We are in regular contact with our government to realize this against the backdrop of the pandemic and anticipated progress within the coming months.

‘There are serious financial consequences for SA Rugby. If the event held without the participation of supporters, and we can’t ignore that in our minds. However, we committed that the end result will provide players, supporters. And our business partners with the best opportunities and experience.”

Lions 2021’s original tour schedule could also change due to those considerations.

Leonard added: “Every British and Irish player dreams of wearing the famous red jersey. And players within the hemisphere want to need part within the Lions series. We owe it to the present players who try to urge a spot on both teams to form sure. They will be a part of Lions history. Fans can buy South Africa VS British and Irish Lions tickets 2021 at discount prices from our website.

“We are considerably looking forward to fleeing South Africa. For what promises to be a really competitive series against the reigning world champions.”

A test ahead of the Lions-Japan tour. Which take place at BT Murray field on Saturday 26 June, still planned. But a decision on the size of the public will made closer to time to ensure. It complies with the UK government regulations.

British Lions commit to South Africa tour – Rugby World Verdict

The Lions beauty is the best player in Britain and Ireland. Who travels to the other side of the world to try to overcome the chances of playing in a hostile environment. And Jason Leonard and his board stick to that tradition.

However, fans are also an integral part of the Lions. And it still seems highly unlikely that the usual red hordes from Great Britain and Ireland could head south. Even having home fans is far from certain; matches played behind closed doors are still a clear possibility.

Yet fans are also an integral part of the Six Nations. And 2021 still brought a great championship without them, although it would be even better with them!

It’s also hard to ascertain this announcement as a 100% confirmation. That the tour will plow ahead – the Lions themselves describe it. Because of the “intended position,” so there are not any guarantees. If the situation in Covid worsens in the coming months, we can look at postponement until 2025.

Jumping on a plane to a replacement venue every few days. May be normal thanks to doing things on a Lions tour. But given the pandemic, matches often limited to at least one or two places? It may be easier to reduce the risk if each team settles in one hotel. And creates a “bubble” where they can control the environment, but this can hardly described as a “tour”.

So a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of work for the organizers, but at least there is an action plan. And hopefully, fans, even if their numbers are limited, will be allowed into stadiums when the tour begins in July.

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British and Irish Lions v Japan: England players set to Miss Murrayfield warm-up

Britain players are set to miss the British and Irish Lions warm-up coordinate against Japan on 26 June Since it is outside World Rugby’s Test window.

“Right now Premiership Rugby has not authorized the arrival of English-based players.” Lions overseeing Chief Ben Calveley revealed to BBC Sport. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

The limitation implies Scotland commander Stuart Hogg, who plays for Exeter. He would likewise miss the Murrayfield game. The Premiership last is on 26 June – the very day as the Lions’ warm-up.

Anyway, Calveley said he trusted that an arrangement could be reached. This will permit players from the 10 Premiership clubs not playing in the homegrown show-stopper to be included against Japan.

British and Irish Lions v Japan: England players set to Miss Murrayfield warm-up
British and Irish Lions v Japan: England players set to Miss Murrayfield warm-up

“If there is a way that the players that aren’t playing in the last could be made accessible for the match then obviously we might want that,” additional Calveley.

We will proceed in exchange for the entirety of the partners in question.

“Whoever is wearing Lion’s pullover will be an unimaginably top-notch gathering of players prepared to take on that challenge against Japan.”

Hogg’s Exeter and Scotland partner Jonny Gray and Wales. Bath number eight Taulupe Faletau is likewise set to be inaccessible for the installation of the way things are.

Remarkable Conditions:

Britain’s players all play their club rugby on home soil with a determination of abroad players for the global side just permitted in “remarkable conditions”.

World Rugby specifies that homegrown sides are just obliged to deliver players to play worldwide installations from the primary seven day stretch of July. The Lions’ start their visit through South Africa against Cape Town-put together commonplace side the Stormers to 3 July.

The primary Test against the best on the planet Springboks is in Johannesburg on 24 July The second and third Tests on the accompanying two ends of the week.

Calveley said he was “totally hopeful” that the visit would proceed notwithstanding the troubles of Covid. Although conceding that “we are possibility arranging out of sight if various situations arise”.

British and Irish Lions v Japan: England players set to Miss Murrayfield warm-up
British and Irish Lions v Japan: England players set to Miss Murrayfield warm-up

The Japan match will be an uncommon “home” installation for the Lions. They drew with Argentina in Cardiff before the 2005 visit through New Zealand However, have endeavored to orchestrate abroad warm-up matches before ongoing outings.

The 2013 group beat the Barbarians in Hong Kong on a visit on the way to Australia. Japan arrived at the last eight of the Rugby World Cup on home soil in 2019 Progressing from the pools to the detriment of Scotland. They additionally scored an outstanding triumph over South Africa in the 2015 competition.

“They are a capable side who play high-beat rugby, so it’ll be a decent test for us,” said Lions lead trainer Warren Gatland.

“The matchday crew can put hands up for Test choice.”

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Warren Gatland warns Japan warm-up will influence British and Irish Lions Test selection

Lions mentor trusts ‘good judgment will win’ concerning Premiership players being delivered for Murrayfield apparatus. Warren Gatland trusts “sound judgment wins”. An understanding can be gone after Premiership players to play for the British and Irish Lions against Japan next June.

He cautioned that the apparatus will impact his choice for the three Tests in South Africa. Talking from New Zealand as the Lions dispatched their shirt for the visit, Gatland said readiness is in front of the timetable. 

Regarding the circumstance around Covid-19, he said “we’re simply proceeding to figure all that will be 100% fine in the following eight months”.However demanded, “you must have some alternative courses of action”.  

Warren Gatland warns Japan warm-up will influence British and Irish Lions Test selection
Warren Gatland warns Japan warm-up will influence British and Irish Lions Test selection

British Irish Lions vs Japan:

A week ago the Lions affirmed a Test against Japan at Murrayfield on June 26, which is the very day of the Premiership Final.  As the Lions’ apparatus is outside World Rugby’s Test window, no Premiership players (Englishmen, yet additionally any semblance of Exeter’s Stuart Hogg and Northampton’s Dan Biggar) are as of now accessible – regardless of only two groups playing in the last.

Gatland is cheerful that the circumstance can be settled. Even though conceded that Premiership Rugby “hasn’t generally been the least demanding to manage” and that the circumstance is “somewhat like Brexit”.

Gatland stated Conceivably if England has an extraordinary Six Nations. You could contend that a third to a large portion of the crew might be absent for that Japan week. Yet additionally, for a camp in Wales we’re arranging the prior week. That would be troublesome.

Given how restricted the time is for arrangement, I can reveal to you we will be taking the best group we can, the best players. In any case, the hard truth is that I simply trust it doesn’t affect any players or determinations. You end up with a 50/50 approach a player.

Warren Gatland warns Japan warm-up will influence British and Irish Lions Test selection

A player can be there for seven days’ camp in Wales. He can be there for the seven days’ groundwork for the Japan game. This may get approval against somebody who has sadly not been accessible until just a single week before the main match in South Africa. 

“It’s a test right now and I simply trust that some sound judgment will win in exchanges.”

Canterbury:

Warren Gatland was talking in the interest of Canterbury. He was at the dispatch of the British and Irish Lions Pro shirt accessible at Canterbury.com.

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Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans

The British and Lions Tour holds a special place in the heart of world rugby it harkens back to what the game was, and reveals what it has become, and encompasses the glory, the camaraderie, and fraternity that separates the sport from all others. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

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.

Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans
Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans

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.

Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans
Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans

“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, I, 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.

Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans
Lions tour is something surreal, for both players and fans

“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.”

Good times, great memories, and next year a new batch, through victory or defeat, are sure to be made anew.

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South Africa Rugby eyes British lions 2021 home Tests

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 tickets on 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.

South Africa Rugby eyes British lions 2021 home Tests
South Africa Rugby eyes British lions 2021 home Tests

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 in 2020.

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.’

South Africa Rugby eyes British lions 2021 home Tests

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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British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC

Buccaneers RFC is more than just a rugby club, it’s a way a life for the people of Athlone. 

Located on the River Shannon, the town in the heart of Ireland’s midlands is inextricably intertwined with the club which has seen generations of families come through its ranks. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

Among the players the club has fostered over the years is Ireland international and British & Irish Lions tourist Robbie Henshaw, who became Lion No.824 in New Zealand in 2017. 

Like so many at Buccaneers, Henshaw’s father Tony and uncle David had also played for the club before him – with the latter going on to represent Connacht during the 1990s. 

British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC
British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC

In fact, the importance of family permeates almost every aspect of Buccaneers and it’s the reason why club president Eamon Collins believes rugby runs through the veins in Athlone. 

“Everybody that comes to the club enjoys playing, there is a great sense of community in the club, they come in at under six and they never seem to leave because they like it so much,” he said. 

“There’s great teamwork, discipline, enjoyment and sportsmanship around the place and there’s a real sense of family – that’s what is so great about the club. 

“This is very true of the Henshaws. The Henshaws have been in the club, their father and uncles have played at the club and they have done an awful lot at the club since they started playing. 

“Robbie is still very involved, he’s a great ambassador for our club and we’re very proud of him. Buccaneers is at the heart of Athlone and rugby is everything in Athlone. 

“Everyone wants to play, everyone wants to be involved and the big problem we have is trying to facilitate all these young players as they all want to become the next Robbie Henshaw and Jack Carty. 

“People come and join the club as underage players and when their playing career finishes, they often continue with the club as administrators, coaches, referees and whatever else. 

“It very much passes through the generations. If you look back through the history of the club, it goes from generation to generation like it does with the Henshaws.” 

The club’s name originates from the Shannon Buccaneers, which was founded by Diarmuid Murtagh in the 1930s and fielded players such as 1938 Lions captain Sammy Walker. 

But after World War Two forced the club to fold and be disbanded, it wasn’t until the formation of Athlone Rugby Football Club in 1951 that rugby was revived in the town. 

More recently, in the 1993/94 season, Athlone and Ballinasloe amalgamated to compete in the All-Ireland League before eventually changing their name to Buccaneers RFC. 

British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC

Leo Galvin was one of the people who was instrumental in the alliance with Ballinasloe, which ended in 2005/06, and he was the first Athlone clubman to play senior rugby for Ireland. 

And with Jack Carty and Henshaw since following in the footsteps of Galvin, Buccaneers media officer Michael Silke believes their rise through the ranks has inspired the next generation. 

“We have supplied a number of players to Connacht and a number of lads were in the Connacht squad, including Jack Carty and Robbie Henshaw, when they won the PRO12 title in 2016,” he said.

“Athlone is a garrison town and garrison towns are traditionally soccer towns. We have a lot of competition from Gaelic soccer as we have six very good GAA clubs within five miles. 

“There’s lots of competition for players so the fact that young lads started coming through and wearing the green of Ireland and Robbie and Jack played senior rugby for Ireland was inspiring. 

“We have around 400 kids now at the club, many more than when I first got involved with the club, and we have 25 teams in total from adults and the Under-20s down to the minis. 

“There was great excitement around the place and pride when Robbie was selected for the Lions in 2017. To get players coming through and playing for Ireland U20s was a great achievement. 

“But when you have guys like Robbie making the senior Ireland squad and then being included in the last British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand, it was incredible for the club.” 

Buccaneers have enjoyed plenty of success on the field themselves over the years, winning the Connacht Senior League 12 times and the Connacht Senior Cup on eight occasions. 

Among those currently representing the club is first team captain Evan Galvin, who like Henshaw before him, was introduced to Buccaneers through his family’s long association with the club. 

British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC

And Galvin, the nephew of Leo, hopes the example set by Lions tourist Henshaw can keep the conveyer belt of youngsters coming through the ranks at Buccaneers for years to come. 

“There is definitely a family feel to the club. Young kids come down and play and if they enjoy it, they stick at it. There’s also a core volunteer group of parents who support,” he said. 

“It’s great for the club that Robbie and Jack have gone on and represented Ireland. There are lads in the past that have done so too and it shows there’s a good love for the game here. 

“There is development in the Midlands of Ireland, with players going on to represent the club and the province and then the country and the Lions. The club is very proud of the lads. 

“They always give their time to come down and help out with underage sessions. It inspires young lads to play. If you’re a young kid and you see someone like that it’s great. 

“There is a lot of sports that the lads can play at an early age so it’s important these young lads who play rugby are inspired to keep playing and stick at it, be the next Robbie Henshaw. 

“If they can be inspired to keep playing from the younger ages groups through to the first team, that’s a pathway we’ve show is there and it’s important to inspire that next generation.” 

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British Irish lions tour: Stars old and new lead Exeter to European glory

Exeter Chiefs are celebrating a first Champions Cup success after overcoming Racing 92 in a thrilling final where plenty of players with British & Irish Lions ambitions put on a show. . Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

A topsy-turvy finale capped a most unique of European seasons in enthralling fashion with both sides throwing everything at the other.

Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds, Harry Williams and Henry Slade all dotted down for the English side as they held on with just 14 men for the final ten minutes to overcome the French outfit 31-27.

British Irish lions tour: Stars old and new lead Exeter to European glory
British Irish lions tour: Stars old and new lead Exeter to European glory

In a record-breaking match, which saw the most tries ever in a Champions Cup final, 2013 Lion Simon Zebo became the fourth player to record a double in the final while Juan Imhoff and Camille Chat also crossed the whitewash.

Exeter’s Simmonds brothers Sam and Joe both starred with the young duo showcasing their varied skillset.

Both will hope to have impressed Warren Gatland with next year’s Lions squad in mind after serving as the backbone of a potentially double winning Chiefs side this campaign.

Fly-half Joe was pinpoint from the tee to earn the man of the match award while No.8 Sam showed just what an asset he is in both attack and defence as he scored Exeter’s second try.

It was Cowan-Dickie who first dotted down after an incredible start from Exeter, who piled huge pressure on their French opponents.

The hooker has enjoyed a brilliant campaign for the Chiefs, having been named in the Premiership’s Dream Team of the season, and he continued in that rich vein of form as the English side kicked off the content in a ferocious intensity.

Cowan-Dickie could very well be playing himself into Lions contention next summer and he was at it again as Exeter scored their second try, initiating the tap carry that helped Simmonds cross the whitewash.

And he also had a hand in his side’s third try on the stroke of half-time as Williams sent Exeter into the half-time break with a 21-12 lead.

British Irish lions tour: Stars old and new lead Exeter to European glory

2017 tourist Finn Russell was also highly influential for Racing 92, even if his side lost, as the fly-half pulled the strings.

Firstly Russell, who made a Lions appearance off the bench against Hurricanes, fired through a picture-perfect pass for Zebo’s first try before he was heavily involved in the Irishman’s second too.

But an error from the Scottish No.10 gave Exeter their fourth try as Jack Nowell intercepted before releasing Slade to score.

Nowell, who starred on the 2017 Tour to New Zealand, will hope to be on the plane to South Africa in 2021 after an impressive campaign and did his chances no harm here.

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British Irish lions tour: Bryan Habana reflects on 2009 Lions series

Bryan Habana has singled out a particular play during the 2009 Test series between the Springboks and British & Irish Lions as one of the best moments in his career. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

South Africa won the first two Tests and the Lions clinched the third match for a 2-1 series scoreline in favour of the hosts.

The Boks dominated the first game but had to rally late in the second match to mount a comeback having trailed by 11 points with 20 minutes left.

British Irish lions tour: Habana reflects on 2009 Lions series
British Irish lions tour: Habana reflects on 2009 Lions series

Habana and centre Jaque Fourie scored late tries, while Morne Steyn stepped up to slot the conversions and two penalties to clinch the win and with that the series.

Reflecting on that riveting Test at Loftus 12 years ago, the legendary Bok pinpoints Fourie’s stunning try as one of the best he has ever seen.

“What that game did give us was one of the best tries I’ve ever seen on a rugby field from Jaque Fourie,” Habana told former teammate Jean de Villiers during a Laureus Sport for Good Foundation webinar.

“Mine his try was a set move that we practised on the training park for two or three years before that, but that finish from Jaque Fourie and the way it happened, to give Morne that final opportunity to make that kick to win it was incredible.”

“As a rugby player, you always want to contribute. It was a great memory and a pretty spectacular moment for all of us involved. The party in the Monte Casino the following weekend summed up what a great moment it was.

“It’s crazy to think that it’s been 12 years already. The uniqueness of a Lions series as a South African, Australian or New Zealander, that only happens once every 12 years.

“There are some Test centurions that never get an opportunity to play against the Lions. The passion, pride, camaraderie and uniqueness of it is something that many players would give any waking moment to be a part of.

British Irish lions tour: Habana reflects on 2009 Lions series
British Irish lions tour: Habana reflects on 2009 Lions series

“We were fortunate that we had that success in 2007 and saw it as the majority of us staying together with the hope of doing something special in 2009, given that we had lost the series in 1997.”

‘It was a really important goal, short term, that I had written down. 2009 was special and it played a crucial part in my planning and I’m grateful to be part of an occasion that went down in history.’

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British Irish Lions Tour: Lions sew up Fanatics retail partnership for South Africa tour

The British and Irish Lions touring rugby union side have announced a partnership with Fanatics, giving fans access to an expanded range of merchandise produced for the team’s 2021 tour of South Africa. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

The exclusive global ecommerce agreement will provide supporters with the widest array of products ever created for a Lions tour, while also expanding Fanatics’ rugby portfolio. The sports apparel giant already oversees England Rugby’s retail and online stores.

British Irish Lions Tour: Lions sew up Fanatics retail partnership for South Africa tour
British Irish Lions Tour: Lions sew up Fanatics retail partnership for South Africa tour

The Lions merchandise will be available at the team’s new online store from 15th October.

“We are excited to be able to offer Lions supporters an extensive range of new products that they can wear with pride when supporting the team,” said Ben Calveley, the British and Irish Lions’ managing director.

“The new store will become the online destination to purchase Lions merchandise including the new replica shirt, as well as other Canterbury apparel and Hackett products when they come on the market later this year.”

2021 Lions tour ‘not viable’ if fans unable to travel, warns SA Rugby CEO

Zohar Ravid, Fanatics’ international general manager, added: “The Lions are one of the most iconic teams in global sport and it is an honor to be partnering with them for the 2021 tour to South Africa.

“In partnering with Fanatics, the Lions will gain access to cutting edge e-commerce systems and industry-leading technology. This will provide rapid navigation for fans across online and mobile sites meaning larger, hi-resolution product displays, frictionless checkout, faster website performance, and the quickest access to new product offerings.”

Fanatics reportedly raised a further US$350 million in August as part of a Series E funding round that saw the company’s valuation soar from US$4.5 billion to US$6.2 billion.

British Irish Lions Tour: Lions sew up Fanatics retail partnership for South Africa tour

The Lions, meanwhile, will be hoping that Fanatics’ global reach can help boost their commercial income. In July, the touring side struck a deal with Vodafone that made the telecommunications giant their lead partner for next summer’s tour.

That tie-up came shortly after the Lions teamed up with South Africa Rugby (SAR) to combine their commercial offering, enabling broadcasters, partners, and licensees the chance to fully leverage and activate around a new centralized program. 

Despite the commercial drive, there are still concerns over whether the 2021 series will go ahead amid Covid-19 restrictions. In August, SAR chief executive Jurie Roux warned that the absence of supporters would make the tour, which is due to start on 3rd July, commercially unviable.

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British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg and Russell go head-to-head for European glory

All eyes will be on the battle for European supremacy on Saturday afternoon when Exeter Chiefs and Racing 92 meet in the final of the Heineken Champions Cup at Ashton Gate. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

The silverware showpiece will be the second of two finals taking place this weekend, with Bristol Bears travelling to France to take on Toulon in the European Challenge Cup on Friday night.

British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg and Russell go head-to-head for European glory
British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg and Russell go head-to-head for European glory

But it is the meeting of Chiefs and Racing that has been given headline billing as two of Scotland’s best players – both British & Irish Lions – come face-to-face on club rugby’s biggest stage.

Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell have been integral to their team’s hopes this season, with both men recognized with a place on the five-man shortlist for European Player of the Year.

And they will now look to put their relationship as international teammates to one side as they attempt to outfox each other and guide their respective teams to a famous victory in Bristol.

The European final also presents a prime opportunity to show Warren Gatland why they deserve a place on the plane to South Africa for next year’s highly-anticipated Lions Tour.

REVISITING AGE-GROUP RIVALRY

Hogg and Russell have been international colleagues for the best part of a decade and have 125 caps between them – but Saturday will not be the first time they’ve come head-to-head.

The encounter at Ashton Gate will see the duo take to the pitch on opposing teams for the first time since they were teenagers playing age-group rugby in Scotland.

“We must have been 12 or 13 years old,” said 2017 Lions tourist and Racing 92 fly-half Russell. “The time I remember is playing against each other in the Gala sevens. 

“Hoggy and Rory Sutherland were playing for Hawick and I was playing for Stirling County. That’s the last time I remember playing Hoggy.”

Since then Hogg and Russell have played together for Glasgow Warriors and Scotland, becoming well-accustomed to each other’s game – something both will attempt to use to their benefit.

British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg and Russell go head-to-head for European glory
British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg and Russell go head-to-head for European glory

“When I played against Stuart – I was chatting to him the other day – I was saying it was probably me doing a lot of the kicking down towards him,” said Russell.

“I know what attacking threats he has got and maybe we can target him in defence or in the air. It’s good knowing him but at the same time it’s also the other way round.

“He knows how I like to play and he knows what I might look for and he might be able to counter that. Maybe I’ll play with my left foot this weekend!”

PRODUCING THE UNEXPECTED

One of the main reasons the duel between Hogg and Russell is being hyped so much is because both players are mavericks capable of pulling a rabbit out of a hat for their teams.

You only have to look at their European semi-finals to see their ability to change the game.

Russell’s vision against defending champions Saracens proved decisive for Racing 92 in the last four, linking up with Virimi Vakatawa to create the match-winning try for Juan Imhoff.

Meanwhile, Hogg’s kicking from deep pinned Toulouse back in Exeter’s semi-final while he was also as slippery as a bag of eels, slaloming through broken field on multiple occasions.

British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg and Russell go head-to-head for European glory

While the Scotland skipper’s running ability often gets overlooked due to Chiefs’ relentless forward press, Hogg’s quick feet often provide the platform – and territory – for Exeter’s success.

But the two-time Lions tourist knows his side faces their toughest challenge yet against Racing 92 – beaten finalists in 2016 and 2018 – and, in particular, his international teammate Russell.

“Finn is an absolutely unbelievable talent and I think at this minute he is one of the best 10s in the world,” Hogg said. “I know how Finn plays; I know that he’s a world-class talent. 

“I think he has got the ability to change the game in a heartbeat. For me, he is one of the most naturally-gifted rugby players I’ve ever come across in my career.”

British Irish Lions Tour tickets are available on our website at very discounted prices. So fans can book British lions Tickets on www.xchangetickets.com.

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