Lions to play 2 tests in Joburg, other in Cape Town in 2021

LONDON (AP) — The British and Irish Lions' eight-match tour of South Africa in 2021 will include two tests in Johannesburg before and after one in Cape Town.

The itinerary for the five-week tour was announced on Wednesday, with the Lions playing three Super Rugby teams — the Stormers, the Sharks and the Bulls — and only two midweek games.

The test series starts on July 24 with a match at Johannesburg's FNB Stadium, which has a capacity of about 88,000. If sold out, it would be the largest crowd for a Lions test in the professional era.

The second test will be played on July 31 at Cape Town Stadium, the Lions' first test in the city since 1997, before the teams meet again in Johannesburg on Aug. 7 — this time at Emirates Airline Park.

Lions coach Warren Gatland said he was “thrilled” at the schedule, adding that it “falls in a way to allow us to start at sea level before building up and acclimatizing to the unique environment that playing at altitude presents.”

The Lions haven't lost a series since touring South Africa in 2009.

South Africa will be playing the series as World Cup champion after winning the title in Japan last month.

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