2021 LIONS BOW TO PRESSURE...
REPORTS OUT OF
ENGLAND are suggesting that the next two British & Irish Lions tours will be cut to just eight games each.
According to The Guardian newspaper, the shortened tours are a result of pressure having been applied by the Premiership clubs who are worried about player workloads.
The paper has reported that the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 2021 will be cut to eight matches as will the next one in 2025 to Australia.
Such speculation was rife when the Lions were in New Zealand this year. There were fears that the famous old team may simply lose its place in the touring calendar as it was too hard to justify their existence.
But such a drastic scenario appears to have been avoided with a compromise agreement to shorten the next two tours.
The Lions played 10 matches on their recent trip to New Zealand, but their first fixture was played just three days after the team’s arrival and, according to The Guardian report, the players were so jet-lagged that at least one fell asleep on the coach to the game against a New Zealand Barbarians side in Whangarei.
There are also concerns that neither South Africa nor Australia would be able to provide adequate competition across 10 games as happened in New Zealand.
“Each tour will be looked at on its merits,” said an administrator quoted by The Guardian.
“We will be keeping an open mind. A shorter tour means longer preparation time and clearly had the Lions been in South Africa this year, it is unlikely that there would have been the 10 meaningful fixtures that there were in New Zealand, where the strength of the warm-up teams meant the Lions went into the test series battle-hardened.”