Second and third Lions Tests moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town

The Gauteng region is the epicentre of the third wave of the Covid pandemic

South Africa Rugby have confirmed that the second and third Lions Tests will be moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

South Africa Rugby have confirmed that the second and third Lions Tests will be moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

As expected, and as declared by Warren Gatland a week ago, South Africa Rugby have confirmed that the second and third Tests will be moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town, meaning that the British and Irish lions will remain there for the remainder of the tour.

The series was scheduled to return to Johannesburg following the first Test in Cape Town on Saturday but the Gauteng region is the epicentre of the third wave of the Covid pandemic.

“However, the decision to remain in Cape Town was made following extensive consultation with medical experts on the risks associated with the delta variant of Covid-19,” read the statement by SA Rugby.

The entire series will thus take place at sea level which should, in theory, enhance the Lions’ prospects of winning the series.

“The data pointed in only one direction,” said Jurie Roux, Chief executive of SA Rugby.

“The series has already been significantly disrupted by Covid-19 and a return to Gauteng at this time would only increase the risks.

“We now have two teams in bio secure environments without any positive cases or anyone in isolation. To now return to the highveld would expose the series to renewed risk.

“Everyone wants to see the two squads, at their strongest, playing out an unforgettable series over the next three weekends and this decision gives us the best opportunity to see that happen.”

Ben Calveley, managing director for the British and Irish Lions, said: “We are fully supportive of this decision which we believe to be in the best interest of the Test series.”

Roux thanked Gauteng and the city of Cape Town for their flexibility and understanding to accommodate the late change of plan.

“We have had great support from local government, and I’d like to thank both Gauteng and the city of Cape Town for their open-minded engagement in what has been a very challenging time,” said Roux.

“Extraordinary times have called for extraordinary measures and we have had support from all our commercial partners despite the challenges.”

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