Lions reject Australia's tour hosting bid

Sun, 07/03/2021, 04:00 am
AAP
by AAP
Lions tour in Australia is now off. Photo: Getty Images

The British and Irish Lions have declined Australia's offer to host their rugby union series against world champions South Africa.

A board meeting on Friday made the decision due to the lack of financial certainty over the finance of Rugby Australia staging the eight-game tour, which culminates in a three-Test series against the Springboks.

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Rugby Australia made the offer in January with the Lions' tour to South Africa in major doubt due the widespread COVID-19 pandemic in the country.   

A major selling point was being able to play in front of big crowds in Australia, with RA reportedly happy for South Africa and the Lions to share the profits while they covered costs.

Four options remain under consideration but each has significant drawbacks with a decision due this month.

Proceeding with the original itinerary in South Africa either with small crowds or behind closed doors could yet happen, while the financially-risky possibility of holding the tour in Britain and Ireland is also being explored.

Postponing it until next year is the least likely course of action due to the ramifications for the home unions' summer tours, while the last option is cancellation.

South Africa's board meet next week with the likelihood of the Springboks hosting the Lions behind closed doors gaining momentum.

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