The British and Irish Lions will discuss this month whether to visit South Africa as planned later in the year because of concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Lions are scheduled to play eight matches in South Africa, including a three-Test series against world champions the Springboks, starting on July 3 in Cape Town.Lions flanker James Haskell breaks the tackle of Blues flanker Blake Gibson during the Blues vs British and Irish Lions match in 2017.

Lions flanker James Haskell breaks the tackle of Blues flanker Blake Gibson during the Blues vs British and Irish Lions match in 2017. Photo: Photosport

But the coronavirus, which has seen a new variant emerge from England and South Africa, has cast doubt on the trip.

“As you would expect, we are progressing with our plans based on the latest information available to us,” Lions managing director Ben Calveley said.

“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.

“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.”

– Reuters

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