Lions set for crunch talks to decide if 2021 tour to South Africa can go ahead as mutant Covid strain devastates country

LIONS bosses will hold crunch talks next month to decide if this summer's tour to South Africa can go ahead.

Like the UK, South Africa has been hammered by coronavirus and they have their own mutant strain that is causing devastation across the country.

And Lions chiefs are concerned about travelling to a country that currently has no vaccine programme – and are staging talks over whether to postpone the eight-game tour until next summer.

With 30,000 fans expected to travel to the southern hemisphere from July to August, Lions managing director Ben Calveley said: “As you would expect, we are progressing with our plans based on the latest information available to us.

“However, given the uncertainty that continues to be caused by the coronavirus pandemic both in South Africa, as well as the UK and Ireland, we are very aware of the need to make a timely decision on the best way forward.

"Not least so that we can provide clarity to supporters booked to travel to South Africa next summer, or those thinking of making the trip.

“To date, the Lions board has had repeated meetings to discuss all scenarios available and is in constant dialogue.

"It will meet throughout January and into February, if required, to review all relevant information and data.

"After further consultation with SA Rugby, we will update on the outcome of these meetings in due course.

“In the meantime, we continue regular discussion with our partners in the UK, Ireland and South Africa, including the British High Commission in Pretoria, the Irish Embassy and various government departments, to ascertain as much information as possible on this fast-evolving, complex situation.”

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