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Austin Healey calls on the Lions to move the test series to the UK

Austin Healey Lions

Austin Healey has called on the British and Irish Lions to relocate their test series with the Springboks to the UK to ensure it goes ahead.

The Lions tour has suffered significant upheaval already, as their game against the Bulls has been called off and replaced with a second match against the Sharks on Saturday, while nine players in the tourists’ squad are currently self-isolating.

The Springboks have experienced similar troubles, as their match with Georgia has been cancelled after both camps recorded positive Covid cases.

Two-time Lions tourist Austin Healey was writing in his column for The Telegraph and argued that the test series should be played in the UK, in order to play in front of crowds and give the squads a more Covid-secure environment.

‘They could play the first test in front of 82,000 people in Twickenham.’

“It now appears that it is going to be very difficult to fulfil these test matches,” Healey wrote.

“Pressure will increase in the lead-up to the test series and it only needs one person to get an infection for the whole thing to be called off, so why don’t they come back now?

“They could do a deal with the Government and take over a hotel like the Lensbury in Teddington. That way they don’t have to stay at Heathrow’s terminal five Holiday Inn.

“Both squads could be frog-marched from the runway onto a coach and be completely bubbled for 10 days. On July 24, they could play the first test in front of 82,000 people at Twickenham.”

Lions stuck with South African tour after turning down alternatives.

The Lions had explored the possibility of relocating the test series to either the UK or Australia at the start of the year, as it had seemed more likely that crowds would have been allowed at the games.

While it now appears as if the test series could have been played in front of full stadiums in the UK, as well as in certain parts of Australia, tour organisers decided to stick with the original plan of touring South Africa.

Although it was confirmed a number of weeks ago that the entire tour would take place behind closed doors, the current situation where both the Lions and Springboks have recorded positive Covid cases was not expected.

The Lions have so far played two matches on South African soil, but will likely face great difficulties in fulfilling the next six games if the last few days are anything to go by.

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