As planned, and as Warren Gatland said a week ago, South Africa Rugby has confirmed that the second and third Tests will be moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town, meaning the British and Irish lions will stay there for the rest. of the tour.
The series was due to return to Johannesburg after the first Cape Town Test on Saturday but the Gauteng region is the epicenter of the third wave of the Covid pandemic.
“However, the decision to stay in Cape Town was made following extensive consultations with medical experts on the risks associated with the delta variant of Covid-19,” the statement from SA Rugby read.
The entire series will thus take place at sea level, which should, in theory, increase the Lions’ chances of winning the series.
“The data only pointed in one direction,” said Jurie Roux, managing director of SA Rugby.
“The series has already been greatly disrupted by the Covid-19 and a return to Gauteng at this time would only increase the risks.
“We now have two teams in biosecure environments with no positive cases or isolated individuals. Going back to highveld now would put the series at further risk.
“Everyone wants to see both teams, at their best, play an unforgettable series over the next three weekends and this decision gives us the best opportunity to see that happen.”
British and Irish Lions general manager Ben Calveley said: “We fully support this decision which we believe is in the best interests of the Test Series.”
Roux thanked Gauteng and the City of Cape Town for their flexibility and understanding to adapt to the late plan change.
“We had great support from the local government, and I want to thank Gauteng and the city of Cape Town for their open engagement in what has been a very difficult time,” said Roux.
“Extraordinary times called for extraordinary measures and we had the support of all our trading partners despite the challenges. “