South Africa Tour stadia

The schedule for the 2021 British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa is out and we now know that the Lions will play eight matches at seven stadia brimming with sporting history. [more]

South Africa Tour stadia

From Cape Town to Johannesburg, via Port Elizabeth, Durban, Mbombela and Pretoria, the Lions will travel the length and breadth of South Africa throughout July and early August 2021.

We’ve given you a rundown of the venues that will host games as the Lions take on the best that South African rugby has to offer.

Click here for the full SA 2021 fixture list!

Cape Town Stadium (Cape Town)

Matches: British & Irish Lions v Stormers – Saturday, 3 July 2021; British & Irish Lions v South Africa [Second Test] – Saturday, 31 July 2021

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Capacity: 55,000

The only stadium set to host two matches on the 2021 Tour – the Lions open their eight-game schedule at Cape Town Stadium against the Stormers before heading back there for the second Test against the Springboks.

The 55,000-capacity ground was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and opened in 2009 but does have some rugby history, with the Stormers having played there on a couple of occasions and the World Rugby Sevens Series visiting back in 2015.

It will be a first-time venue for the Lions but having hosted the semi-final between Uruguay and the Netherlands at that 2010 World Cup, it’s no stranger to big matches.

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (Port Elizabeth)

Matches: British & Irish Lions v South Africa ‘A’ – Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Capacity: 48,000

Much like its Cape Town equivalent, the coastal Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium was opened in 2009 after being built for the following year’s football showpiece but also has plenty of rugby heritage.

It is home to the PRO14 side the Southern Kings, so may well be familiar to many of the Lions’ Welsh, Irish and Scottish stars, while international rugby has also graced the Port Elizabeth turf.

The fifth game of the 2011 Tri Nations Series between South Africa and New Zealand was held there, while England, Scotland and Australia have also contested Tests against the Springboks at the venue, with the Lions’ clash against South Africa ‘A’ added to that list in 2021.

Jonsson Kings Park (Durban)

Matches: British & Irish Lions v Cell C Sharks – Saturday, 10 July 2021

Capacity: 52,000

Located in the Kings Park Sporting Precinct in Durban, the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium has undergone many transformations over the years.

Originally opened in 1958 with a capacity of 12,000, the ground was extensively renovated in time for the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Three pool games, a quarter-final and the semi-final between South Africa and France were played there as the Springboks went all the way.

Also known as ‘The Shark Tank’, it is famed for its steeped grandstands which create an imposing atmosphere for visiting teams.

One of the main international stadiums in South Africa, it is now home to The Sharks rugby team and Golden Arrows in the Premier Soccer League as well as hosting many musical events.

Mbombela Stadium (Nelspruit)

Matches: British & Irish Lions v South Africa ‘A’ – Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Capacity: 40,929

Located six kilometres west of Mbombela – formerly known as Nelspruit – in the Mpumalanga province, the Mbombela Stadium will welcome the Lions for the first time when they square off with South Africa ‘A’ for the second occasion on the 2021 Tour.

Another stadium erected for the 2010 World Cup, it has plenty of rugby heritage as the home of Currie Cup side the Pumas and has also hosted Springboks matches in the past.

The first of those was against Scotland in June 2013, while Wales followed suit the following year in a thriller won 31-30 by South Africa.

Loftus Versfeld Stadium (Pretoria)

Matches: British & Irish Lions v Bulls – Saturday, 17 July 2021

Capacity: 51,762

Home of Super Rugby franchise the Bulls – whom the Lions will face on 17 July, 2021 – Loftus Versfeld Stadium is a ground dripping in rugby history.

The site was first used for sports in 1906 before an official stadium was built in 1923 and it hosted five matches during the 1995 Rugby World Cup, including New Zealand’s 48-30 quarter-final victory over Scotland and France’s 19-9 triumph over England in the third-place play-off.

The Springboks have played at Loftus Versfeld on numerous occasions and The British & Irish Lions are also well-acquainted with the venue.

Their first Test there came on the 1955 Tour, with the sides locked at 1-1 in the series, when a Jeff Butterfield try, drop goal and a Doug Baker penalty edged the Lions to a 9-6 win.

The Springboks have got their revenge at Loftus Versfeld on many occasions since, including the most recent Tour to South Africa in 2009 when a Morné Steyn penalty from within his own half with the final kick of the game gave the hosts a dramatic 28-25 win.

FNB Stadium (Johannesburg)

Matches: British & Irish Lions v South Africa [First Test] – Saturday, 24 July 2021

Capacity: Approx 88,000

The first Test match of the 2021 Tour will take place at FNB Stadium, one of the most iconic venues in South Africa but relatively new to the world of rugby – only hosting its first match in 2010, as the All Blacks beat the Springboks.

The venue was the site of Nelson Mandela’s first speech in Johannesburg after his release from prison in 1990 and served as the venue for a memorial service to him in December 2013.

It was upgraded ahead of the 2010 football World Cup to become the largest stadium in Africa – with a capacity of 94,736, although it will be approximately 88,000 for the Lions Tour – and hosted the final as Spain lifted the trophy for the first time in their history.

Nickname “The Calabash” due to its resemblance to the African pot or gourd, FNB Stadium will host the Lions for the first time in 2021.

Cape Town Stadium (Cape Town)

Matches: British & Irish Lions v Stormers – Saturday, 3 July 2021; British & Irish Lions v South Africa [Second Test] – Saturday, 31 July 2021

Capacity: 55,000

It’s back to the only stadium set to host two matches on the 2021 Tour – as the Lions return to Cape Town for the second Test against the Springboks.

The second Test in the series is always crucial, so the balance of power on the Tour could be decided at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, 31 July.

It’s also a chance for Lions fans heading to the other two Tests in Johannesburg to visit another historic, beautiful South African city in Cape Town. Make sure to make the most of the opportunity.

Ellis Park Stadium (Johannesburg)

Matches: British & Irish Lions v South Africa [Third Test] – Saturday, 7 August 2021

Capacity: 62,567

A staple of British & Irish Lions Tours ever since first being used in 1938, Ellis Park Stadium has become synonymous with rugby and will be the second Johannesburg venue to host one of the Tests in 2021.

The first Lions Test there back in 1938 went the way of the Springboks, as they triumphed 26-12, and both sides have found success at the stadium in the years since – the Lions winning the final Test in 2009 as Shane Williams’ try double sealed a 28-9 victory.

The Johannesburg sporting cathedral is also home to the Lions Super Rugby team, the Golden Lions Currie Cup squad and also hosted the 1995 Rugby World Cup final that saw South Africa make history by beating the All Blacks 15-12 after extra-time.

It will add to its storied history in 2021 with the potentially decisive third and final Test set for the venue as the British & Irish Lions look to add to the stadium’s folklore.

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