Sunday 22 April 2018

British & Irish Lions to reduce number of tour matches from 2021

Lions head coach Warren Gatland. Photo: PA
Lions head coach Warren Gatland. Photo: PA

Jack O'Toole

The IRFU, RFU, SRU and WRU have agreed to reduce the number of tour matches on British and Irish Lions tours from 10 to eight from 2021.

As part of changes to the new global rugby calendar, the four unions agreed on eight matches for future tours after initially toying with the idea of seven matches, according to The Guardian's Paul Rees.

The rationale between reducing the amount of games from 10 to eight is understood to be aimed at giving future touring party's more time to prepare, as under current construction, the first match in New Zealand this summer will fall just seven days after the league finals in both the Premiership and the Pro 12.

Under the parameters of the new global rugby calendar, which will be in effect from 2020 onwards, the club season in Europe will run until the end of June which would give the Lions 10 days to prepare for their 2021 tour of South Africa, as opposed to the current arrangement which will see the Lions arrive in New Zealand just three days before their opening game against the New Zealand Barbarians in Whangarei.

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