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?

The first Test in Cape Town saw a sensational second-half fightback as the Lions came out 22-17 victors against South Africa.

However, they were unable to seal a first series win against the Springboks since 1997 last weekend and now they head into a winner-takes-all Test on Saturday against the World champions.

South Africa displayed a well-executed fightback in the second Test and their gameplan, centred around aerial bombardments and brutal physicality, was able to get the job done for the hosts. The tourists had little in response and the score line of 27-9 reflected that.

With tries coming from Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am as well as 17 points from the boot of fly-half Handre Pollard, the result was never really in any doubt. The stage is now set for an unmissable decider between the two teams and if the last two Tests have taught us anything, it’s that this is certain to be an ill-tempered and controversial game.

Looking ahead to third and final Test, Lions coach Warren Gatland has made sweeping changes across the board in search of that illustrious series win. Hooker Ken Owens, prop Wyn Jones, scrum-half Ali Price, centre Bundee Aki, winger Josh Adams, and full-back Liam Williams all start in Cape Town, while Owen Farrell, Taulupe Faletau, Anthony Watson and Stuart Hogg are all out of the squad.

Full South Africa and Lions starting line-ups:

South Africa: Le Roux; Kolbe, Am, De Allende, Mapimpi; Pollard, Reinach, Kitshoff, Mbonambi, Malherbe, Etzebeth, De Jager, Kolisi (c), Mostert, Wiese

Replacements: Marx, Nyakane, Koch, Van Staden, Smith, H Jantjies, Steyn, Willemse.

Lions: Williams, Adams, Henshaw, Aki, Van der Merwe, Biggar, Price, Jones, Owens, Furlong, Itoje, A Wyn Jones (c), Lawes, Curry, Conan

Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Vunipola, Sinckler, Beard, Simmonds, Murray, Russell, Daly

Lions tour 2021 latest odds

The British and Irish Lions head into the series-deciding Test against South Africa in Cape Town as the outsiders. The tourists are 11/8 to win the third Test match against the world champions, with the hosts priced at 4/6. The draw, meanwhile, is priced at 18/1.

It could well be a tight affair with the hosts priced at odds of 11/10 to secure the victory with a handicap of -3 points, while the Lions are priced at 10/11 for a +3 handicap in their favour.

As for the try scorers, the hosts will be relying on Cheslin Kolbe, their leading light to get over the line. He is priced at 5/2 to score a try at any time and 9/1 to score first.

For the tourists, Josh Adams will fancy his chances of sneaking through the Springboks’ defence and is also priced at 9/4 to score at any time or 17/2 to do it first.

Check out all the latest rugby union betting odds at William Hill