British & Irish Lions

Lions players want series against Springboks to happen

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Owen Farrell (Getty Images)
Owen Farrell (Getty Images)
  • With the Lions tour to South Africa up in the air, senior players have voiced their approval of the tour going ahead.
  • Owen Farrell, Johnny Sexton, Stuart Hogg and Alun-Wyn Jones all want the tour to happen.
  • Current Covid-19 infection rates in South Africa and the United Kingdom means the tour remains in balance.

With the Lions' tour of South Africa later this year in the balance, reports out of England suggest that senior players are desperate for it to go ahead.

According the The Telegraph, Owen Farrell (England), Johnny Sexton (Ireland), Stuart Hogg (Scotland) and Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales) were involved in a conference call with the Lions board and told them that the tour must take place, even if no spectators are allowed in the stadiums due to Covid-19.

Whether that happens remains to be seen as a result of increased Covid-19 infections in both the United Kingdom and South Africa.

The Telegraph reports that chances for the series taking place at the scheduled time in South Africa in front of packed stadiums are diminishing quickly.

Other contingency plans are currently being looked at, including holding the tour in the United Kingdom but again, that would need a significant decrease in current Covid-19 infections for fans to be allowed inside stadiums.

The prospect of holding the tour in the United Kingdom behind closed doors was too high of a financial risk, reports said.

Earlier this week, Rugby South Africa's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said the Springboks are desperate to play the series.

"Any option we can get not to lose the Lions tour, we’ll take," Erasmus told a media briefing.

"I’m talking from a coach's or team management perspective. Obviously there are commercial factors to take into account, which isn't my department, but from a rugby perspective, I can tell you we’re willing to do anything."

Last week, legendary Lions skipper, Willie John McBride who captained the famed side to victory over the Springboks in 1974 said the tour must be done right, or not at all.

"It would defeat the entire ethos of the Lions if they play a few games here in the home countries," McBride told The Telegraph.

"It would be a disgrace. It will defeat everything the Lions stand for."

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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