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Is the 2021 Lions Tour Doomed?

mdaclarke

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Right call,
UK and South Africa both in a right state atm with the virus - and I think The Beta Bro said Ireland have gone back into lockdown so they can't be doing too well as well.

Not enough people will be vaccinated by the time the tour happens to make it safe

I could accept a postponement but I would be absolutely gutted if it was cancelled altogether.

The Springbok Tour is the best and most intense of the Lions Tours
 

The Alpha Bro

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2022 would be a total disaster, no chance the international coaches would want it then either. Bin it til 25.
 

mdaclarke

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One option is for South Africa to play in the UK and share the revenue.

I assume this would be a 4 test tour with games at all 4 Lions National Stadiums,
 

RedruthRFC

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Reading between the lines, and following the money, does this mean that the SARU think they can get the tour played in 2022 if it doesn't go ahead in any form in 2021?
 

Kiwiwomble

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One option is for South Africa to play in the UK and share the revenue.

I assume this would be a 4 test tour with games at all 4 Lions National Stadiums,
...is England in a much better situation?...isn't COVID pretty rampant there too at the moment?
 

TRF_Olyy

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Reading between the lines, and following the money, does this mean that the SARU think they can get the tour played in 2022 if it doesn't go ahead in any form in 2021?
On rugby tonight they implying the Unions don't want a postponement - too much disruption in '23 because of the World Cup, don't want '22 messed around as well


...is England in a much better situation?...isn't COVID pretty rampant there too at the moment?
Aye, it's a right mess in the UK atm.
Only way it would work (at the moment) would be strict bubbling of test sides and no fans - which wouldn't really be a money spinner and isn't a guarantee of safety anyway (look at Fiji in the autumn)


People won't like it but it it'll probably be binned if they can't do a half arsed NH test series.
The summer tours of '22 are already set out - Wales would have to go without a tour because they're supposed to be facing SA, and the other nations (I think Ireland are in NZ? can't remember the others) wouldn't be happy at B sides being sent to them.
 
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RedruthRFC

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On rugby tonight they implying the Unions don't want a postponement - too much disruption in '23 because of the World Cup, don't want '22 messed around as well

That's my take and I would suspect the Home Unions'.

Aye, it's a right mess in the UK atm.
Only way it would work (at the moment) would be strict bubbling of test sides and no fans - which wouldn't really be a money spinner and isn't a guarantee of safety anyway (look at Fiji in the autumn)

Does this mean that it's only travel and merchandise sales that push the tour into profit for the Lions and similarly ticket sales for the SARU? Given the reduced costs, I'd have thought that TV rights alone would make a series played behind closed doors profitable. That's why I'm guessing that the SARU think they can force the Lions into playing it in 2021, given that the profits of a behind closed doors series would be better than nothing at all.

I'm not sure if what Fiji did (pull in players from around the rugby world to infect each other) could be called a strict bubble. Nothing's bulletproof, but an Aussie style quarantine period as individuals before forming a strict bubble as a team (not a BaaBaas bubble that permits visits to a coffee shop or golf course) would give you a decent chance.
 

mdaclarke

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I think it all depends on the Oxford Vaccine, if they can get all the vulnerable people vaccinated in time (say by end of April) then the tour can do ahead.
 

TRF_Olyy

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I think it all depends on the Oxford Vaccine, if they can get all the vulnerable people vaccinated in time (say by end of April) then the tour can do ahead.
I'm not as optimistic,

The majority of tourers won't be in that vaccinated group - not sure what the current roll out plan in RSA is, either, but doubt they'll have vaccinated sufficient numbers of the population for it not to be a risk

Plus this:


I think it's going to get cancelled.
 

ncurd

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Aye, it's a right mess in the UK atm.
Only way it would work (at the moment) would be strict bubbling of test sides and no fans - which wouldn't really be a money spinner and isn't a guarantee of safety anyway (look at Fiji in the autumn)
I'm unsure about the provisions in SA but you could have a Lions tour in the UK specifically at Twickenham with tight bubble conditions. It was shown to be done for Cricket last summer playing at only Old Trafford and Rose Bowl because they had hotels attached to the stadiums. Essentially everyone stayed at the the stadium with a strict set of pods within that. and apart from one England player nipping home switching between stadiums it all worked out pretty well.

The real questions is whether the Twickenham Mariott is large enough to accommodate that and I can't find figures.
 

EdBirch

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I'm unsure about the provisions in SA but you could have a Lions tour in the UK specifically at Twickenham with tight bubble conditions. It was shown to be done for Cricket last summer playing at only Old Trafford and Rose Bowl because they had hotels attached to the stadiums. Essentially everyone stayed at the the stadium with a strict set of pods within that. and apart from one England player nipping home switching between stadiums it all worked out pretty well.

The real questions is whether the Twickenham Mariott is large enough to accommodate that and I can't find figures.


Property details​

  • 3 floors, 144 rooms, 12 suites
  • 10 meeting rooms, 1,368 sq m of total meeting space
 

ncurd

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Property details​

  • 3 floors, 144 rooms, 12 suites
  • 10 meeting rooms, 1,368 sq m of total meeting space
So the Hilton at Old Trafford cricket ground

"The hotel boasts 150 bedrooms across five floors,"

So I'd say it was doable, if you split revenue as per TV right the way it usually does the unions will get roughly equivalent money because I doubt it would change that much as ticket revenue won't be anywhere near that. The issue will be tourism from the tourists but if 21/22 can't happen for whatever reason.

The real question is whether the various people are willing to do that instead.
 

TRF_Olyy

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Daily Mail (I know I know, but they do excellent rugby reporting) saying:
Postponing the tour by 12 months is understood to be the preferred option for the South African authorities, who regard playing fixtures in empty stadia there this summer as unviable. But one home unions source swiftly cast doubt on that contingency, telling Sportsmail: 'The Lions will go ahead or be cancelled.' When pressed about shifting to 2022, the source added: 'It can't happen.. Countries will not release players. Tours are in place (next year).'
 

ncurd

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Daily Mail (I know I know, but they do excellent rugby reporting) saying:

Next years tour aren't quite in place in terms of what is announced but there's certainly an agreement already between Ireland and NZ that will have to broken. So in terms of that I can't see it going ahead next year.

 

TRF_Olyy

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Next years tour aren't quite in place in terms of what is announced but there's certainly an agreement already between Ireland and NZ that will have to broken. So in terms of that I can't see it going ahead next year.

Wales have, apparently, agreed terms with South Africa for 2022 as well.

Obviously South Africa would be happy enough to cancel that but I doubt the WRU would be.
Also Gatland only has a one year sabbatical from Chiefs, so would need to negotiate another season off (though if he didn't coach the Lions.....I'm OK with that)
 

Old Hooker

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I think SA are way behind us in the vaccine stakes.

And I can’t see it being played over here - that’s just not the point of the Lions. Maybe, just maybe if there could be full crowds, but we won’t be at that point by July.

I’m sure some sort of compromise arrangements could be reached over next year’s tours, but there would be major financial / scheduling issues and coaches kicking off over post Lions hangovers going into RWC year.

There are lots of moving parts. But I’m not seeing any will from any party to do anything other than the usual - hordes of travelling fans and packed stadia. If the whole thing has to be shunted back to 2025 to be done properly then so be it.
 

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yeh BBC reporting it as well.
 

ncurd

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yeh BBC reporting it as well.
Honestly I see three outcomes
1) No tour
2) Tour with fans in UK
3) Tour with fans in UK but vaccine delays mean it actually happens behind closed doors.

I suspect it will be option 3. Purely on current government target require 2 million doses a week and we are at 300,000 so its going to be testing capacity all over again.
 

The_Blindside

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If it does happen in the UK it is about time.
 

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