Cape Town - The British & Irish Lions could face a New Zealand Maori side in a lucrative warm-up match in the UK ahead of their tour of South Africa in 2021.
New Chiefs coach Warren Gatland is taking a sabbatical next year to lead the British & Irish Lions for a third time following tours to Australia and New Zealand in 2013 and 2017, respectively.
According to the Stuff website, Gatland revealed the tourists were considering a warm-up match before heading to South Africa and confirmed talks were underway with up to three parties - one being the New Zealand Maori.
"The Lions are planning a warm-up game somewhere in either London, Wales or Edinburgh," Gatland told Japan's Kyodo News.
"There are two or three parties we are talking to, the Barbarians, New Zealand Maori and Japan."
The Daily Mail reported that the fixture could generate around £5 million, but added it would not be hosted at Twickenham, the home of English rugby, because of a clash with the English Premiership final.
Gatland has made an immediate impact since taking over at the Chiefs ahead of this year's Super Rugby season. After three rounds, the Chiefs are unbeaten and sit atop both the ultra-competitive New Zealand Conference and the Overall log.
The British & Irish Lions' schedule for 2021 has been cut from 10 matches to eight. In addition to the three Tests (FNB Stadium, Cape Town Stadium and Ellis Park) against the reigning world champion Springboks, the Lions will play the Stormers, Sharks and Bulls, as well as matches against a SA Invitational side and South Africa 'A'.
The Lions' 2021 tour to South Africa will be the 14th such journey for the combined England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland side to these shores.
In the 13 previous tours - the first of which took place in 1891 and the most recent in 2009 - the Lions have emerged victorious on four occasions, with the 1955 visit ending in a tie.
In total, 46 matches have been played between the sides, with the Lions winners in 17 of those clashes. South Africa has claimed victory on 23 occasions, with six matches ending in a stalemate.
The last time the Lions lost a series was that 2009 tour to South Africa when the Springboks beat them 2-1.
Subsequent to that, the Lions defeated the Wallabies 2-1 in Australia seven years ago, while the series against the All Blacks ended in a 1-1 tie three years ago.
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
History | British & Irish Lions in SA:
1891: British & Irish Lions won 3-0
1896: British & Irish Lions won 3-1
1903: South Africa won 1-0
1910: South Africa won 2-1
1924: South Africa won 3-0 (one Test drawn)
1938: South Africa won 2-1
1955: Series tied 2-2
1962: South Africa won 3-0 (one Test drawn)
1968: South Africa won 3-0 (one Test drawn)
1974: British & Irish Lions won 3-0 (one Test drawn)
1980: South Africa won 3-1
1997: British & Irish Lions won 2-1
2009: South Africa won 2-1
- Compiled by Garrin Lambley