Lions execs consider Rugby Australia's offer to host South Africa series


Rugby Australia's offer to host the British & Irish Lions series against South Africa is unlikely to be accepted despite being considered by power-brokers as an "option on the table".

The pandemic coronavirus has created some uncertainty over the series with South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus earlier saying the board wants to consider all possible options including playing the series in United Kingdom or postponing to next year incase if there are issues surrounding the original schedule.

Springbok flank Schalk Burger (C) fails to catch the ball on 17 June 2009 during the second Test match against the British and Irish Lions at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa.

The tour is in serious doubt due to the global health crisis as well as the new Covid-19 strain making its away around South Africa. The Lions indicated in early January whether they would decide in February to continue the tour.

Rugby Australia has raised fresh hope the series can go ahead by offering to act as hosts and it is understood that has been added to the options under consideration by Lions chiefs.

Crowds could attend matches in Australia.

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Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, McLennan said: "What we learnt from the Tri Nations past year and the tennis that's happening now is that Australia can successfully stage global tournaments in a Covid world". Alternatives have been mentioned, reminiscent of taking part in in empty stadiums or taking part in in the UK.

"I'm sure we'd get a fantastic turnout", he finished.

While welcoming overseas supporters in such numbers is not now possible, McLennan said large expat communities would ensure there were still huge crowds. While Rugby Australia have said that all the profits would go to the South African Rugby Union and the Lions minus costs, it would provide a stimulus for the economy as well as currying favour with the home unions before the vote for the 2027 World Cup.

They traditionally attract tens of thousands of travelling Lions fans, who drown the stands of host venues in masses of red shirts. 'What we learnt from the Tri-Nations a year ago and the tennis that's happening now is that Australia can successfully stage global tournaments in a Covid world.

"No one else in the world have done it better than Australia", he said.