Sky Sports will exclusively show the British & Irish Lions’ three-Test series against the Springboks in South Africa in 2021, as well as their five warm-up matches.
This agreement means Sky Sports will show its seventh successive Lions tour, a partnership that will enter its 25th year in 2021.
The Lions will face the Springboks in three Tests – all exclusively live on Sky. The rights also include each of the five warm-up matches.
As with the previous two clashes between the Lions and the Springboks, the hosts will come into the series as world champions. The Lions won the series 2-1 in 1997, while South Africa went on to claim victory by the same margin in 2009.
The 2009 series hinged on a 52-metre last-gasp penalty from Morne Steyn in the second Test, which sealed a memorable 28-25 victory for South Africa. Warren Gatland was the forwards coach for that tour, but this time the 56-year-old will be head coach, having been confirmed for his third stint at the helm.
“Lions Tours are always unique, but to take on the world champions in their backyard will be something very special,” said Gatland.
“Having toured there in 2009 I know the scale of the task ahead of us – playing in South Africa presents a number of unique challenges such as playing at altitude, while the Boks will always be physical, aggressive and highly motivated.
“History tells you it’s a tough place to tour, but I am confident that we can go there and win.
“Sky Sports always do an excellent job covering the Tour, so I am delighted they are on board again.”
The tour of South Africa follows a spectacular series in New Zealand in 2017, in which the Lions fought back to secure a share of the spoils, with the deciding Test match ending in a nail-biting draw.
Rob Webster, Sky Sports Managing Director, said: “There are a handful of events in the sporting calendar that truly transcend their sport, and a Lions Tour is one of them. It’s a moment in time, where the home nations come together to take on the best in the world.
“We’re hugely proud of our association with the Lions, and we’re looking forward to bringing our customers every twist and turn of what is sure to be a spectacular Tour.”
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