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Erasmus says Lions clashes will proceed


Rassie Erasmus

Rassie Erasmus


Rassie Erasmus

South Africa's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus insists the Springboks will do whatever it takes to make the British and Irish Lions series happen.

The coronavirus pandemic has placed the tour's original schedule in grave doubt, with three contingency plans being looked at if, as expected, it fails to take place in full stadiums in South Africa.

The options are to postpone it until next year, host it in the UK and Ireland or keep the existing itinerary but stage the matches behind closed doors.

Erasmus - the Springboks' 2019 World Cup-winning coach - is open to all eventualities as long as the event actually takes place.

"We desperately want to play the Lions and we will do anything to play them," he explained.

"This series only comes around every 12 years. I have heard the different calls and opinions about the tour and, although we didn't play in the Rugby Championship because of player welfare, it was also because we knew there was this big series in 2021.

"If option one of playing in South Africa doesn't work out, we will go to option Z to make it happen.

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"We don't want to lose out on the Lions series, we feel we deserve to play against them."

Talks amongst the Lions' eight-man board are ongoing and a decision will be made next month.

Meanwhile, Erasmus also conceded that the Rainbow Cup is under threat from the growing case numbers across the world.

The tournament, which features the existing PRO14 teams and the four top South African franchises, is scheduled to kick off in April, but is now in major doubt due to the restrictions on travel.

Belfast Telegraph