English rugby prefers Lions tour to be held in South Africa


LONDON — English rugby’s “preferred position” is for the British and Irish Lions to travel to South Africa rather than host a test series against the Springboks, the head of the Rugby Football Union said Tuesday.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said governing bodies and organizers were in “critical dialogue” over whether South Africa is capable of hosting the tour, which is scheduled for July and August.

“There was a possible Australia option that has gone away,” Sweeney said on a video call, “and we are running out of time for a UK option, frankly, as the days are ticking by.

“The preferred position has always been to be able to go to South Africa and play it in South Africa, either with crowds or behind closed doors.”

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