British and Irish Lions announce 2021 South Africa tour schedule

The British and Irish Lions are set to play in front of the largest-ever crowd for a Lions Test in the professional era on their eight-match tour of South Africa in 2021.

FNB Stadium in Johannesburg will host the first Test on Saturday July 24 and with a capacity of approximately 88,000 fans, a sell-out crowd would surpass the 84,188 who watched the series decider against Australia in 2001.

Head coach Warren Gatland said of the schedule: “I am absolutely thrilled with how this schedule looks. Touring South Africa is always a huge challenge, not only from a rugby perspective, but also in terms of the venues and the conditions facing the players.

“We are very comfortable that three of the games, two of which are Test matches, will be played at altitude. Our schedule falls in a way to allow us to start at sea level before building up and acclimatising to the unique environment that playing at altitude presents.

“Ensuring the team are absolutely primed for the Test matches is a critical element of any Lions Tour, and I am confident the quality of opposition we will face in the opening weeks will get us ready to take on the Springboks. The Bulls, Sharks and Stormers are all tough sides and present different challenges, which is exactly what we want.

“Moreover, the venues we have agreed – some of which will be new to the Lions – open up the matches to a vast audience and will undoubtedly provide an unforgettable experience for the players and travelling supporters alike.

“We are very much looking forward to touring this wonderful country.”

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

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