British Lions fans (Getty Images)
The British & Irish Lions have reportedly made an official request to the UK government to help host a home ‘tour’ against the Springboks.
According to the Daily Mail, the Lions board met last Thursday to discuss contingencies for their tour of South Africa, which is scheduled for July and August.
After the meeting, the Lions board approached the government for financial guarantees which, if obtained, would pave the way for the tour to be hosted in the UK and Ireland.
The report added that it was unlikely that the tour would go ahead as planned in South Africa, as the country has only just started a Covid-19 vaccination programme, although there is still the possibility it could be played behind closed doors.
There is also the potential that crowd limits in the UK would be lifted from 21 June, which would be in time for the Lions’ warm-up match against Japan at Murrayfield.
The three Tests against the Springboks could be hosted in London, Cardiff and Dublin.
Meanwhile, Australia has also offered to host the tour, with Rugby Australia chairperson Hamish McLennan recently saying that sold-out stadiums would be a distinct possibility if the tour was staged in his country.
If we sold out Sydney or Perth, which is achievable if we are allowed to have full crowds, it would just be mind-blowing for the players.
“I know lockdown in the UK has been tough but in Sydney life is relatively normal. We can successfully host this,” McLennan said.
However, it appears the home nations are still in favour of holding the matches in the UK.