The British and Irish Lions have brought forward the kick-off time of their match against the Sharks next Wednesday to avoid a clash with the semi-finals of football’s European Championship.
The Lions had been due to face the Sharks in their second tour game in Johannesburg’s Ellis Park, with a kick-off time of 7pm (BST) but it is understood the game will now be brought forward by one hour to enable sports fans to watch both matches. The Euros semi-final takes place at 8pm. England will feature in that semi-final if they beat Ukraine on Saturday.
Telegraph Sport understands that talks between the Lions, SA Rugby and host broadcasters Sky Sports and Super Sports in South Africa began after England’s 2-0 victory over Germany in the last 16 on Tuesday night.
There is also significant interest in the Euros in South Africa, meaning that all parties agreed to the earlier kick-off.
“It’s a decision with the fans’ best interests at heart; it ensures everyone can watch both games,” said an insider.
Given that the Lions matches are all being played behind closed doors in South Africa because of lockdown restrictions, which were elevated to ‘level four’ last Sunday because of the huge rise in the rate of infections in the country, it is relatively simple to move the kick-off times and involves few logistical changes.
- Stuart Hogg to captain Lions in first tour match
What TV channel is the match on?
Live coverage of the Lions tour is on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Rugby. All three Lions Tests against South Africa will be on Channel 4, while All4 will show highlights of ALL the Lions Tour matches.
Lions Tour 2021 full fixtures
Here’s the latest schedule, all BST:
- Saturday, June 26 v Japan… Murrayfield… Channel 4… KO 3pm
- Saturday, July 3 v Lions… Johannesburg… Sky Sports… KO 5pm
- Wednesday, July 7 v Sharks… Johannesburg… Sky Sports… KO 6pm
- Saturday, July 10 v Bulls… Pretoria… Sky Sports… KO 5pm
- Wednesday, July 14 v South Africa ‘A’… Cape Town… Sky Sports… KO 7pm
- Saturday, July 17 v Stormers… Cape Town… Sky Sports… KO 5pm
- Saturday, July 24 (1st Test) v South Africa… Cape Town… Sky Sports… KO 5pm
- Saturday, July 31 (2nd Test) v South Africa… Johannesburg… Sky Sports… KO 5pm
- Saturday, August 7 (3rd Test) v South Africa… Johannesburg… Sky Sports… KO 5pm