SA Rugby determined to host the British and Irish Lions in 2021

As a once in every 12 years event approaches SA Rugby are keen to assure the public that the visit of the British and Irish Lions in 2021 will go ahead.

SA Rugby has been in constant talks with the northern powers who come together to form the Lions.

The visit of the Lions hearkens back to the very first tours of South Africa and the genesis of Springbok rugby.

British and Irish Lions tours probably biggest thing in rugby

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said this was something they could not allow to fall away even in a global crisis.

"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."

Elusive Lions

For many in the Springbok fold playing against the Lions is something they have waited their whole careers for.

A World Cup comes every four years but the Lions only visit South Africa once every twelve years. The Lions tour every four years but also visit New Zealand and Australia.

The tours are an experience unique to rugby and in the age of professionalism retain the amateur charm.

Missed chances

Joel Stransky won the world cup with the Springboks in 1995 but missed out on the Lions tour in 1997 as he was playing club rugby for English giants, Leicester at the time.

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 told 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

Lions Tour schedule