British and Irish Lions: Rugby Australia offers to replace South Africa as hosts

(SAT Sports) – Rugby Australia has offered to host this summer’s British and Irish Lions series against South Africa.

The Lions are due to visit South Africa in July and August with a three-Test series against the world champions.

But issues around Covid-19, including the emergence of a new variant in South Africa, has led to uncertainty over the viability of the tour.

“We’re here to help,” Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“What we learnt from the Tri Nations last year and the tennis that’s happening now is that Australia can successfully stage global tournaments in a Covid world.

“It’s particularly tough in the UK and South Africa at the moment and I believe the more international rugby that gets played here, the better.”

McLennan says profits from the tour would be split between the Lions and South Africa, with Rugby Australia covering their costs.

The Lions board have been discussing contingency plans in the event the trip has to be abandoned, including the possibility of hosting games in the UK and Ireland.

Crowds have returned to watch live sport in Australia, with up to 30,000 fans allowed to watch next month’s Australian Open in Melbourne.

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