South Africa’s rugby chief backs plans for fans to return for Lions Tests

The South Africa Rugby president, Mark Alexander, believes that proposals being presented to the country’s government next week make “a strong case for a safe and sustainable return of supporters”.

The British & Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa is scheduled for July and August, highlighted by three Tests against the world champions and the move by South Africa’s National Olympic Committee is potentially an encouraging development for Lions supporters hoping to travel.

“A comprehensive set of guidelines and protocols to get fans back into South African sports venues is going to our government from our National Olympic Committee next week,” the SA Rugby president Alexander said.

“We have been heavily involved in the drafting, and we believe it makes a strong case for a safe and sustainable return of supporters. Our government’s response is likely to be shaped by the progress of the pandemic, but even if we have to play behind closed doors the tour will go ahead.

“We have robust plans in place, shaped from the benefit of a year of lessons from bio-secure environments around the world. There is no reason to doubt the tour taking place.”

The Lions are due to play Tests in Johannesburg and Cape Town, plus games in Port Elizabeth, Durban, Pretoria and Nelspruit.