Find out where the tourists will play in South Africa
British & Irish Lions 2021 Venues
The British & Irish Lions 2021 squad will play matches at five different venues.
Their first match is at ‘home’ against Japan on Saturday 26 June at BT Murrayfield in Scotland, then they will play at four different stadiums in South Africa. It would have been more, like a traditional tour, but travel has been reduced to minimise the risks around Covid-19.
Related: New British & Irish 2021 Schedule Confirmed
Here is the lowdown on all the stadiums staging Lions matches in 2021, although the matches in South Africa are expected to be played behind closed doors because of the pandemic.
British & Irish Lions 2021 Venues
Situated in Scotland’s capital Edinburgh, Murrayfield has a capacity of 67,000 and is where the Scottish national team play their home matches.
It was built in 1925, although it had only one stand then. Other stands have been added and redeveloped over the past century.
Due to Covid restrictions, a crowd of 16,500 will be permitted for the Lions’ match against Japan in June.
Emirates Airline Park
The Lions will play their first two tour matches at this 62,000-seater stadium in Johannesburg. They open against Johannesburg-based franchise the Lions – not to be confused with the British & Irish tourists! – on 3 July and then play the Sharks, of Natal, on 7 July.
Known as Ellis Park before the naming rights were put up for sale, this stadium hosted five matches at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, including South Africa’s victory over New Zealand in the final. It was also a venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Loftus Versfeld Stadium
This is the venue for the third match of the tour, against the Bulls on Saturday 10 July.
Situated in Pretoria, it has a capacity of nearly 52,000. The stadium is named after Robert Loftus Owen Versfeld, who founded organised sports in the city.
Like Ellis Park, Loftus Versfeld Stadium was a venue for both the 1995 Rugby World Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup, and also hosted the famous second Test between the 2009 Lions and Springboks.
Cape Town Stadium
The newest of all the venues, Cape Town Stadium was built specifically for the FIFA World Cup in 2010.
It replaced an older ground, Green Point Stadium, and is located on the city’s waterfront, close to the Atlantic Ocean. It can seat 55,000 spectators.
Cape Town Stadium will host three Lions matches – more than any other venue. On 14 July, the tourists will take on South Africa A and then it’s local franchise the Stormers on 17 July. Cape Town is also the venue for the first of the three Tests, on 24 July.
It is also the venue for the next Sevens World Cup, which will take place in September 2022.
Also known as Soccer City, the First National Bank Stadium will stage the second and third Tests between Warren Gatland’s Lions and Jacques Nienaber’s South Africa.
The stadium first opened in 1989 and was upgraded to increase capacity 20 years later in time for the Football World Cup in 2010, when it hosted the final. It can now house nearly 95,000 people seated, making it one of the largest sports stadiums in the world.
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