British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa to go ahead as scheduled in 2021

The British and Irish Lions
The British and Irish Lions' last tour was in 2017, when they tied the three-game series against New Zealand

The British and Irish Lions' tour of South Africa will go ahead as planned in July and August 2021.

The Lions play three Test matches against the world champions in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Gauteng.

They play eight matches in total on the tour, including five warm-up games against invitational sides and Super Rugby teams.

The tour will take place at the same time as the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, which run from 23 July to 8 August.

The British and Irish Lions were open to moving the tour to the autumn to fit in with the new global rugby union calendar which is set to emerge after the coronavirus pandemic.

However calendar talks have slowed, and with time pressing British and Irish Lions managing director Ben Calveley said it was vital to make a decision one way or the other.

"An enormous amount of planning, especially from a logistical perspective, goes into putting on a Lions series, so it was crucial that a decision was agreed upon in good time," Calveley said.

"I am particularly pleased that we are able to provide some clarity for all those Lions supporters eager to travel to South Africa next summer."

The Lions had previously said they were unconcerned about touring at the same time as the rearranged Tokyo Games, saying there would be no "direct clashes".

South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux added: "The whole of South Africa is looking forward to welcoming the Lions and we continue progressing our plans to provide travelling supporters with a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

The Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891. The Lions have won four Test series and lost eight - including their most recent tour in 2009 - with one drawn.

Full 2021 tour schedule:

Saturday 3 July: Lions v Stormers - Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Wednesday 7 July: Lions v South Africa 'Invitational' - Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Saturday 10 July: Lions v Sharks - Jonsson Kings Park, Durban

Wednesday 14 July: Lions v South Africa 'A' Team - Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Saturday 17 July: Lions v Bulls - Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Saturday 24 July (first Test): Springboks v Lions - FNB Stadium, Johannesburg

Saturday 31 July (second Test): Springboks v Lions - Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Saturday 7 August (third Test): Springboks v Lions - Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg