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Confirmed: All three Lions Tests will take place at sea level in Cape Town

Johannesburg is at the centre of the third wave of Covid-19 in South Africa.

Cape Town Stadium will host all three Tests.
Cape Town Stadium will host all three Tests.
Image: Shaun Roy/INPHO

SA RUGBY AND the British and Irish Lions have officially confirmed that all three games in the upcoming Test series will take place at sea level in Cape Town.

The first Test had always been scheduled for Cape Town Stadium but the second and third Tests were originally due to take place in Johannesburg.

However, with Johannesburg currently the epicentre of the third wave of Covid-19 in South Africa, it has been decided to stay put in Cape Town after “extensive consultation with medical experts on the risks associated with the Delta variant of Covid-19.”

Both the Lions and Springboks recorded positive Covid cases in their camps while they were based in Johannesburg for warm-up games.

There has also been rioting and looting in Johannesburg amid the unrest caused by the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma. 

Given that Cape Town is at sea level, rather than at altitude like Johannesburg, the change of venue for the second and third Tests will be viewed as a positive for the Lions.

The Test series opens this Saturday 24 July, with the other games to follow on Saturday 31 July and Saturday 7 August.

“The data pointed in only one direction,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

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“The Series has already been significantly disrupted by Covid-19 and a return to Gauteng at this time would only increase the risks.

“We now have two teams in bio-secure environments without any positive cases or anyone in isolation. To now return to the Highveld would expose the Series to renewed risk.

“Everyone wants to see the two squads, at their strongest, play out an unforgettable Series over the next three weekends and this decision gives us the best opportunity to see that happen.”

Lions managing director Ben Calveley said the tourists were also “fully supportive” of the decision.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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