British & Irish Lions

Former Bok coach Peter de Villiers gives his thoughts on Lions tour

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Peter de Villiers.
Peter de Villiers.
(Lee Warren/ Gallo Images)

EP Elephants coach Peter de Villiers hopes the British & Irish Lions tour takes place in South Africa - and not abroad.

The Lions tour scheduled for this year is hanging in the balance due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the contingency plans discussed by the Lions board includes playing the series in the UK and Ireland.

However De Villiers, who coached the Springboks to a 2-1 series win over the Lions in 2009, believes if South Africa can't host the Lions this year the tour should be delayed until 2022.

The new EP mentor took to social media on Monday to share his views on the matter: "Over the last few weeks, I have managed to find a small amount of time to reflect on the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 2009 and the ongoing discussion on where and when the 2021 tour should take place.

"The Lions tour will forever live with me as one of the greatest events I have ever experienced in rugby and it was not purely because of the results.

"The Lions bring an aura that can't be matched. Whilst on tour, they travel the country, they hold coaching clinics in communities, schools and townships, they fill stadiums and pump immeasurable amounts of money into a crippling economy that in 2021 or in 2022, we can ill-afford losing out on.

"I know of a numerous amount of UK charities and tour operators who donate to South African charities and projects that will not be able to do so should this tour not go ahead here in South Africa. The chance to have a social impact in a country that is so desperate for it will be lost.

"My biggest fear is that if they do move the tour to the UK, they will be doing it to appease sponsors and commercial obligations rather than rugby reasons and that would not sit well with me," De Villiers wrote.

Full 2021 British & Irish Lions tour schedule:

- Saturday 26 June: British & Irish Lions v Japan - Murrayfield, Edinburgh
- Saturday 3 July: British & Irish Lions v Stormers - Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
- Wednesday 7 July: British & Irish Lions v South Africa 'Invitational' - Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
- Saturday 10 July: British & Irish Lions v Sharks - Kings Park, Durban
- Wednesday 14 July: British & Irish Lions v South Africa 'A' Team - Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
- Saturday 17 July: British & Irish Lions v Bulls - Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
- Saturday 24 July (first Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions - FNB Stadium, Johannesburg
- Saturday 31 July (second Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions - Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
- Saturday 7 August (third Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions - Ellis Park, Johannesburg

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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