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Month: July 2020

Plenty of time for prospective British Lions tour 2021

Former England and British & Irish Lions wing Ugo Monye says there will be more than enough opportunities for players to prove themselves before the 2021 tour of South Africa.

Monye has personal experience of rising from the fringes as he went from playing as a reserve for the English Saxons to starting against the Springboks when the Lions last toured South Africa in 2009. Rugby fans can book Springboks vs British and lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

The then 26-year-old not only scored an excellent solo try in the third Test, which the Lions won but also finished the tour as the top try-scorer – with five scores to his name.

Plenty of time for prospective British Lions tour 2021
Plenty of time for prospective British Lions tour 2021

With over half of 2020 already lost to the Covid-19 pandemic, prospective Lions players will be concerned over whether they will be left with enough time to prove their worth before the tour gets underway in July next year.

However, Monye told the Lions website that while a few names may already be penciled in for next year’s squad, there will still be plenty of time for a couple of surprise names to surface.

‘I got capped in November 2008 and ended up going on a Lions Tour with six international caps,’ Monye said. ‘There is all manner of opportunity and I think it’s a really interesting time.

‘We have seen players emerge in the Premiership and almost get capped this season – Louis Rees-Zammit is absolute lightning and I’d say he’d go well on a fast track in South Africa.

‘The impact that these players can have, I wouldn’t be ruling anyone out. There will be four or five players that are not on the Lions radar now that will be spoken about regarding going on that Tour.

‘There won’t be many but there will be some guys that enter the conversation, but there is a big difference between being part of the conversation and being on the plane – that’s for sure.

Plenty of time for prospective British Lions tour 2021
Plenty of time for prospective British Lions tour 2021

‘No one knows what this rugby world in the next year is going to look like. But if we can get a full calendar of games, Autumn Internationals in whatever capacity, Six Nations as well as the domestic leagues and European competition – there are enough games at a high level to be able to prove yourself.

‘So, for anyone who doesn’t feel they are automatic selection, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. There are plenty of games, plenty of opportunities to make a late surge.’

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Vodafone named top sponsor of British and Irish Lions for SA tour

British and Irish Lions have announced telecommunications company Vodafone as the lead sponsor for the upcoming tour of South Africa next year.

Vodafone’s logo will be displayed on the front of the Lions’ shirt and will replace Standard Investments, who led the sponsorship in 2017 during the tour of New Zealand.

The deal also extends to the provision of communications for the touring party and technical support for training and player performance. Rugby fans can book Springboks vs British and lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Vodafone named top sponsor of British and Irish Lions for SA tour
Vodafone named top sponsor of British and Irish Lions for SA tour

According to reports, it is learned that Standard Investments paid up to £6.25m for the tour of New Zealand while HSBC had paid up to £5m for the 2013 tour of Australia for the sponsorship.

“Today’s announcement represents two iconic brands coming together. Along with supporting Warren and the team, Vodafone will also help to enhance the experience of Lions supporters through the very best technology and innovation,” said Managing Director of the British & Irish Lions Ben Calveley.

“The fans are a crucial aspect of any Lions tour and we will need to ensure they feel part of the team, to ignite their incredible support if we are to overcome the World Champions.

“In Vodafone, we have found a partner who shares our passion for connectivity, and we are delighted to have them on board to enhance the experience of the Lions fans across the world.”

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland also welcomed Vodafone for the association with the side.

british lions tour
british lions tour

“I am excited to welcome aboard Vodafone as a team sponsor for the tour next summer. The key to a successful Lions Tour is about players coming together quickly and staying united behind one common goal – to win a Test series against the World Champions in South Africa.

“I cannot think of a brand that knows more about bringing people together than Vodafone. I am sure they will play an important role in supporting the team on and off the pitch, as well as ensuring the Tour is a unique experience for all Lions supporters.”

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Jacques Nienaber says: Lions will have their ducks in a row

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber expects the coaching continuity and experience of Warren Gatland to pose a massive challenge during next year’s British & Irish Lions tour.

The first Test between the Springboks and British & Irish Lions is scheduled to take place exactly a year from today in Johannesburg. Rugby fans can book Springboks vs British and lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber, speaking on the SA Rugby Podcast, said he is expecting more of the same from Gatland and his touring team when they arrive in South Africa in 2021.

Jacques Nienaber says: Lions will have their ducks in a row
Jacques Nienaber says: Lions will have their ducks in a row

It will be Nienaber’s second encounter with the British & Irish Lions after he was involved with Western Province in 2009. The tourists won a tough tussle in torrential rain 26-23 at Newlands in Cape Town.

Gatland has not lost a series since being appointed as Lions head coach in 2012. The New Zealander was involved in the 2009 Tour as a forwards coach and has since coached the invitational team to a 2-1 series win against Australia – which included a massive 41-16 victory in the final Test – as well as a 1-1 series draw against the All Blacks after the final encounter ended in a 15-15 stalemate.

‘Warren Gatland’s coaching ability and experience, and the teams he assembled on their two previous tours to Australia and New Zealand, speaks for itself,’ Nienaber said.

‘The series victory in Australia was their first in 16 years since they beat the Boks in 1997, and we know how tough it is to get a win or a draw in New Zealand.

‘Warren and his coaching staff are very experienced in the Lions set-up, what is needed to fuse players from four teams and four different styles of play, and what buttons to press to unlock the emotions, skill sets and grunt from various countries.

Jacques Nienaber says: Lions will have their ducks in a row
Jacques Nienaber says: Lions will have their ducks in a row

‘They will certainly have all their ducks in a row and it will be a massive challenge for us.’

Gatland returned to New Zealand after finishing his 13-year tenure as Wales coach last year and is busy coaching the Chiefs in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

A concern for Nienaber is that he does not know what to expect from the Lions, but the Springbok coach says he is taking note of what Gatland is doing with the Chiefs.

‘The negative for us is that we don’t know what type of playing style they will bring to South Africa,’ Nienaber admitted.

‘We’re watching Warren with the Chiefs at the moment, to see what direction they are taking as he might bring some of that over to SA next year. There certainly is enough intrigue and storylines involved that makes for one massive clash next year.’

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British Lions Rugby tour 2021 – Springboks think to meet well-drilled

According to Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber, next year’s tour of the British and Irish Lions to South Africa will pose a massive challenge to his team.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has offered effusive praise for the British and Irish Lions and their coach Warren Gatland. Rugby fans can book Springboks vs British and lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Gatland will coach the Lions for the third time when they tour South Africa in 2021, completing the traditional set having already taken the team to Australia and his native New Zealand.

British Lions Rugby tour 2021
British Lions Rugby tour 2021

Formerly the coach of Wales, Gatland has taken up a position with the Chiefs who will grant him leave to mentor the Lions. His time in Waikato has made a rough start with the team failing to win a match in Super Rugby Aotearoa to date.

BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS WILL BE READY TO FACE SPRINGBOKS

Nienaber expects Gatland’s Lions to be a different prospect though and is relishing testing himself against the veteran coach.

“Warren Gatland’s coaching ability and experience, and the teams he assembled on their two previous tours to Australia and New Zealand, speaks for itself,” said Nienaber.

“The series victory in Australia was their first in 16 years since they beat the Boks in 1997, and we know how tough it is to get a win or a draw in New Zealand.

“Warren and his coaching staff are very experienced in the Lions set-up, what is needed to fuse players from four teams and four different styles of play, and what buttons to press to unlock the emotions, skill sets and grunt from various countries.

“They will certainly have all their ducks in a row and it will be a massive challenge for us.”

British Lions Rugby tour 2021 - Springboks think to meet well-drilled
British Lions Rugby tour 2021 – Springboks think to meet well-drilled

ONE EYE ON THE CHIEFS

Nienaber said that he and his technical team had one eye on what Gatland was doing at the Chiefs to perhaps glean some insights.

“The negative for us, is that we don’t know what type of playing style they will bring to South Africa,” said Nienaber.

“We’re watching Warren with the Chiefs at the moment, to see what direction they are taking as he might bring some of that over to SA next year. There certainly is enough intrigue and storylines involved that makes for one massive clash next year.”

The British and Irish Lions are set to play eight matches in all in South Africa with five tour games augmenting the three Tests.

The first Test in the three-match series is slated to take place on Saturday 24 July 2021 at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. A week later they will face the Springboks again at Newlands before the series wraps up back in Johannesburg at Ellis Park.

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British Irish Lions Tour – Decision spurs fresh concern for the player benefit

The British and Irish Lions have been given the go-ahead to tour South Africa next summer – sparking fresh concern for player welfare.

Weeks of uncertainty ended when organizers confirmed that the eight-match trip, culminating in three Tests against the world champion Springboks, will take place as originally scheduled. Both parties had been prepared to push the tour back into the autumn. Rugby fans can book Springboks vs British and lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

British Irish Lions Tour
British Irish Lions Tour

If it freed up a summer slot for global rugby to at least make a start on repairing its parlous financial situation. But with club and country unable to agree on a route out of COVID crisis, the Lions have chosen to go ahead as planned.

Starting in Cape Town on July 3 and running through to August 7, when the final Test is staged at Ellis Park The fortnight-long series clashes directly with the Olympics but of greater concern to players will be that it leaves next to time for rest from the moment the English Premiership resumes next month.

Just this week former England star Freddie Burns launched a scathing attack on rugby bosses in these pages over the ‘brutal’ Premiership demands being imposed on the country’s stars.

He condemned as “madness” the revised schedule, which sees clubs play seven times in 28 days to finish this campaign in time to start the next one less than a month later.

“Player welfare is a term we hear a lot about,” said the Japan-bound fly-half.

“But I don’t think it’s quite backed up by anyone in the game.”

Elite players in England are limited to 30 full games – or 35 matches ‘involvements’ of 20 minutes or more – under the agreement between clubs, country, and players’ union. Yet the top players face the prospect of up to five Tests in the autumn and a Six Nations Championship in the spring.

British Irish Lions Tour
British Irish Lions Tour

Add to that two European Cups and one and a half domestic league campaigns before the Lions even set off on safari and difficult conversations are looming.

Days after Premiership Rugby boss Darren Childs claimed “every single club is absolutely on board and supportive” with the schedule, Damian Hopley revealed that the players’ union he leads are still discussing the small print.

Whatever the state of the Lions when they finally assemble, South Africa has vowed to lay on a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience for their fans – while challenging home supporters to “ensure the army of red does not dwarf our sea of green and gold”.

Seven players and two non-playing staff, from a pool of 856, have tested positive in Premiership Rugby’s second round of COVID testing.

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