Selected players from the home nations of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland jet off to South Africa to play a three-match test series against the Springboks during July and August 2021. As the British Lions face the mighty Southern Hemisphere team, it’s set to be a tense watch.

What is a Lions tour?

Ahead of the Lions’ three-match Test series with South Africa, we’ve compiled all you need to know about the showdown to bring you the Lions Tour 2021 latest news, the Lions Tour 2021 team and Lions Tour 2021 dates.

38 English, Welsh, Irish and Scottish players head to South Africa under head coach Warren Gatland to play a total of eight matches. Three of these eight will be part of the three-match Test series as the Lions take on South Africa – current world champions, having beaten England in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final. The players selected for Lions Tours are usually capped by their own home nation, and we see some exciting pairings and combinations emerging, making the Lions Tour 2021 a must-watch.

Much like the Olympics, the Lions Tour is held every four years and is seen as a true Northern v Southern Hemisphere spectacle of rugby involving the best in the world. Beginning in 1888 as a combined British rugby commercial venture, 22 players sailed to Australia and New Zealand for a 249-day rugby tour. The Lions adopted their nickname officially in 1950 after the animal frequented the players’ ties.

The team is designed to unite the best British and Irish rugby players, in their historic battle against Southern Hemisphere teams South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, with the Lions rotating between these nations for each Tour. Therefore, the Tour is hosted by each country once every 12 years, and there have been some memorable British and Irish Lions greatest moments seen down the years. Whilst the Lions Tour mainly features the three rugby giants, there have also been warm-up games featuring Japan, Argentina, Canada, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and France in the past.

When and where is the Lions tour 2021?

The Lions Tour 2021 schedule in South Africa features eight matches between July and August 2021, however they also played a warm-up match against Japan on June 26. The first five games in South Africa featured South African clubs Emirates Lions, Cell C Sharks, Vodacom Bulls, South Africa ‘A’ and DHL Stormers.

The final three games of the Lions Tour 2021 schedule will be what the Lions (and their fans) have all been waiting for: a three-match Test series against the current world champions. They will take place on consecutive Saturdays: July 24, July 31 and August 7. The Lions Tour 2021 kick-off times for those fixtures will all be 5pm UK time.

Where is the Lions Tour 2021?

All three Lions Tour 2021 Tests will take place in Cape Town at the Cape Town Stadium.

Who is in the Lions tour 2021 squad?

Led by former New Zealand player Warren Gatland, the Lions Tour 2021 players consist of 13 English players, 11 Welshmen, 8 Scots and 7 Irishmen.

Captain: Despite picking up a shoulder injury last month and having seemed set to miss the whole tour, Alun Wyn Jones has made a miraculous recovery to return to the Lions squad and to lead the team as captain, replacing stand-in skipper Conor Murray.

Forwards: Adam Beard (Wal), Tadhg Beirne (Ire), Jack Conan (Ire), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Eng), Tom Curry (Eng), Zander Fagerson (Sco), Taulupe Faletau (Wal), Tadhg Furlong (Ire), Jamie George (Eng), Iain Henderson (Ire), Jonny Hill (Eng), Alun Wyn Jones (Wal), Maro Itoje (Eng), Wyn Jones (Wal), Courtney Lawes (Eng), Josh Navidi (Wal), Ken Owens (Wal), Sam Simmonds (Eng), Kyle Sinckler (Eng), Rory Sutherland (Sco), Mako Vunipola (Eng), Hamish Watson (Sco).

Backs: Josh Adams (Wal), Bundee Aki (Ire), Dan Biggar (Wal), Elliot Daly (Eng), Gareth Davies (Wal), Owen Farrell (Eng), Chris Harris (Sco), Robbie Henshaw (Ire), Stuart Hogg (Sco), Conor Murray (Ire), Ali Price (Sco), Louis Rees-Zammit (Wal), Finn Russell (Sco), Marcus Smith (Eng), Duhan van der Merwe (Sco), Anthony Watson (Eng), Liam Williams (Wal).

Who are the Lions playing next?

Up next for the Lions is the first Test against South Africa on July 24, which promises to be a mammoth clash. The Lions are heading into the first Test with five wins out of six warm-up games under their belts. Their most recent 49-3 victory against the DHL Stormers saw the Lions squad redeem themselves following their loss against South Africa ‘A’ earlier in the week, though they will have learnt plenty from the latter fixture with a number of Springbok first-teamers in the opposition line-up.

Alun Wyn Jones’ comeback from injury headlines the Lions team news for Saturday while Ali Price, Elliot Daly, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Courtney Lawes all also start for the visitors.

Full South Africa and Lions starting line-ups:

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk; 1 Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (c), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8 Kwagga Smith

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Lood de Jager, Rynhardt Elstadt, Herschel Jantjies, Elton Jantjies, Damian Willemse

Lions: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Duhan Van Der Merwe, 10, Dan Biggar, 9 Ali Price, 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Tadgh Furlon, 4 Maro Itoji, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 6 Courtney Lawes, 7 Tom Curry, 8 Jack Conan

Replacements: Ken Owens, Rory Sutherland, Kyle Sinckler, Tadgh Beirne, Hamish Watson, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, Liam Williams

Lions tour 2021 latest odds

The British and Irish Lions head into the first Test against South Africa in Cape Town as favourites. The tourists are 10/11 to win the opening match against the world champions, with the hosts priced at 21/20. The draw, meanwhile, is priced at 18/1.

It certainly looks set to be a tight affair with the Lions priced at odds of 9/2 for a five-point winning margin of 1-5, with South Africa also the same price for a 1-5 five-point winning margin in their favour.

As for tries, South Africa winger Cheslin Kolbe is always a threat and is 2/1 to land a try anytime. England’s Anthony Watson and Scotland’s Duhan van der Merwe have been picked to start for the Lions on the wing ahead of the free-scoring Josh Adams, with the former 2/1 and the latter 15/8 to score a try anytime. If you feel a tight game could go the other way with no try scorers across the 80 minutes, that is priced at 22/1.

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