The British and Irish Lions will now play the Johannesburg-based Lions in South Africa this summer, after a change to the touring schedule.
According to South African publisher SA Rugby Mag, the Lions will no longer play a South African Invitational XV (a local Barbarians team of sorts) as was originally planned.
Instead, two Lions teams will collide in the first game of the tour on South African soil on July 3. The Lions will play their first match of the summer against Japan in Edinburgh on June 26.
The Lions were due to play their first game of the South African tour against the Stormers on July 3, but that game has now been rescheduled for July 17.
However, the revised schedule is yet to be officially announced, as the original fixture list still appears on the Lions website.
The Johannesburg-based Lions, who are currently playing in the Rainbow Cup, were the only team of the ‘big-four’ South African sides that were not due to play against the best of Britain and Ireland this summer.
A lot less travelling on the cards for the visitors.
The game against the South African Invitational XV was scheduled to provide fans in Port Elizabeth with a game to attend, although it now looks unlikely that supporters will be present at any matches due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The Lions were originally scheduled to play in six cities across South Africa – Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Mbombela, Pretoria and Johannesburg – although now it appears as though they will limit that to three cities.
Just Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg are now due to host Lions matches, presumably because of the lessened importance of where each game will take place based on the probable absence of supporters.
Four nations. One team. One Tour. And one goal. Win in South Africa.
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) May 7, 2021
The first two games of the tour will now take place in Johannesburg, before they travel to neighbouring city Pretoria to take on the Bulls.
The Lions will then play three games in Cape Town against the Stormers, South Africa A and the first test match against the Springboks, before returning to Johannesburg for the final two test matches.