The eagerly-awaited first Test between Warren Gatland’s touring side and the reigning world champion Springboks is due to take place at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon (July 24), with the following two contests – set for July 31 and August 7 respectively – initially scheduled to be held at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
However, in a joint statement released on Tuesday, SA Rugby and the Lions confirmed that an agreement had now been made to play the entire series at Cape Town Stadium due to concerns over the risks associated with the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Gauteng province, of which Johannesburg is the capital.
SA Rugby said the decision had been made following “extensive consultation with medical experts”.
The dates for the fixtures remain the same.
“The data pointed in only one direction,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.
“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, play out an unforgettable Series over the next three weekends and this decision gives us the best opportunity to see that happen.”
The Lions backed the change, with managing director Ben Calveley commenting: “We are fully supportive of this decision which we believe to be in the best interest of the Test Series.”