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'It's a runner!' | Alan Quinla...
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'It's a runner!' | Alan Quinlan backing Australia's Lions tour proposal

Neil Treacy
Neil Treacy

10:41 1 Feb 2021

Alan Quinlan says the proposal by Australia's rugby chiefs to stage this year's Lions Tour versus South Africa is well worth exploring further.

The 2021 tour is due to get underway from July 3rd in South Africa, with five warm-up games and three test matches against the world champions, but the worsening Covid-19 situation in South Africa is causing uncertainty over whether it will go ahead.

The prospect of the series being hosted in Britain and Ireland has also been suggested, but a number of commentators have said it would go against the touring ethos of the Lions concept.

In recent days, it has emerged that Australian rugby officials have approached the series organisers and World Rugby about staging the tour in their country, which would allow fans to attend games on account of the country's strict quarantine procedures.

Speaking to Ger and Eoin on this morning's OTB AM, Alan Quinlan says while there would need to be huge logistical work done, switching the series to Australia seems like the best alternative put forward.

"I think it is a runner. I don't know if logistically - people are booked to go to South Africa etc, can they switch all that and send them to Australia and get 30-50,000 at test matches? The logistics of it, I don't know how it would all work.

"But having crowds at Lions matches is what it's all about. It's really important. Having it in South Africa with no crowds would give South Africa the TV money, and they're in desperate need of money. They're financially hamstrung at the moment and in a very serious situation. They're desperate for some sort of Lions tour to go ahead to at least get the TV money. To have the crowds would be incredible," he said.

The financial aspect of the proposal could be the clincher, with Rugby Australia CEO Hamish McLennan confirming that if they were to host the series, all profits would be shared between the original South African and Lions stakeholders, with Rugby Australia hosting the series at a cost basis.

Alan Quinlan says this offer could prove too good to turn down.

"The first thing people think here is whether Australia will make money. Hamish McLennan, the Australian CEO said they don't want to make any money off it, they just want to cover their costs and any money that would be generated from ticket sales and crowds, commercial activity would be split between South Africa and the Lions.

"Is it a better solution for SA? Taking it out of the country would be disappointing for them but playing it with crowds and getting more on top of the tv money would be a better situation.

"I just think to have crowds at a Lions series would be incredible. Otherwise I just think it would be very, very eerie and should be postponed. But that hits the summer tours and the World Cup cycle. I think it's a real runner. Will they go for it, I don't know

"I think the players will be desperate to play a Lions series. Rassie Erasmus says they are open to all options. It would be great to see crowds even if it was in Australia," he says.

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Alan Quinlan Lions Tour Rassie Erasmus Rugby Austraklia

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