Sun, 09 Aug 2020

Cape Town - The British & Irish Lions will play the first of their three 2021 Tests against the Springboks in front of what is likely to be a record-breaking crowd.

That showdown at the FNB Stadium in Soweto is scheduled for Saturday, July 24 - a little over 19 months away.

The current record crowd attendance for a British & Irish Lions Test stands at 84 188 at Australia's ANZ Stadium in Sydney in 2001.

The FNB Stadium, built to host the final of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, has a current capacity around the 88 000 mark.

The second Test is scheduled for another 2010 World Cup-built stadium, the Cape Town Stadium (capacity 55 000), while the third and final clash is due to be played at Ellis Park (62 000) in Johannesburg.

The combined capacity figure for the three venues is a shade under 205 000, which would easily surpass the 192 972 fans who watched the Lions' Tests live in Australia in 2013.

With reports of as many as 30 000 fanatical Lions fans expected to head to the country - taking advantage of the favourable pound-to-Rand exchange rate - stadiums for all eight matches on the itinerary are expected to be sold out.

The Lions have toured South Africa twice since the country was readmitted to international rugby in 1992, claiming a surprise 2-1 series victory in 1997, before losing by the same margin in 2009.

Coincidentally, as will be the case in 2021, on both previous visits the Springboks have been the reigning world champions.

READ | STATS: A long history of Springboks v British Lions history

Full British & Irish Lions 2021 tour schedule:

Saturday, July 3: British & Irish Lions v Stormers - Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Wednesday, July 7: British & Irish Lions v SA 'Invitational' - Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Saturday, July 10: British & Irish Lions v Sharks - Kings Park, Durban

Wednesday, July 13: British & Irish Lions v South Africa 'A' - Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Saturday, July 17: British & Irish Lions v Bulls - Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Saturday, July 24 (1st Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions - FNB Stadium, Johannesburg

Saturday, July 31 (2nd Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions - Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town

Saturday, August 7 (3rd Test): Springboks v British & Irish Lions - Ellis Park, Johannesburg

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