South Africa will go to ‘option Z’ to make Lions tour happen

Rassie Erasmus says he is open to all eventualities in order to get matches played

Rassie Erasmus is determined that South Africa will play against the Lions in whatever circumstances are necessary. Photo: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Rassie Erasmus is determined that South Africa will play against the Lions in whatever circumstances are necessary. Photo: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images/Getty Images

 

South Africa’s director of rugby Rassie Erasmus insists the Springboks will do whatever it takes to make the Lions series happen.

The coronavirus pandemic has placed the tour’s original schedule in grave doubt, with three contingency plans being looked at if, as expected, it fails to take place in full stadiums in South Africa.

The options being examined are to postpone it until next year, host it in the UK and Ireland or keep the existing itinerary but stage the matches behind closed doors.

Erasmus, the Springboks’ 2019 World Cup-winning coach, is open to all eventualities as long as the event actually takes place.

“We desperately want to play the Lions, and we will do anything to play them,” he told an online press conference.

“This series only comes around every 12 years. I have heard the different calls and opinions about the tour, and although we didn’t play in the Rugby Championship because of player welfare, it was also because we knew there was this big series in 2021.

“If option one of playing in South Africa doesn’t work out, we will go to option Z to make it happen.

“We don’t want to lose out on the Lions series, we feel we deserve to play against them. I want to, (head coach) Jacques Nienaber wants to, the players want to. So from our side we’ll do anything.

“But, yes, we will explore any option to play the Lions — we will play next year, we will play over there. This is the view from a player and management perspective.”

Talks amongst the Lions’ eight-man board are ongoing and a decision will be made next month.

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