Over the last few weeks I’ve been saying that I think the Lions will not tour again after 2025 and possibly not after 2021. I suggested that the Lions would therefore never tour New Zealand again.
A number of people on twitter have said that I have never said anything more stupid – this was quite extreme frankly, as it was up against some pretty stiff competition.
Interestingly, Stephen Jones, rugby correspondent for the Sunday Times etc., said pretty much the same thing –
As you would expect I find his reasoning to be pretty sound
“They are smashed to bits by rugby itself because they won’t give the Lions any type of preparation. The Lions played a game within 72 hours of arriving here at the end of a savage season at home. That’s nonsense,” Jones said.
“It’s the player welfare aspect that is nonsense. Neither the New Zealand hosts nor the organisers in the UK of all the other competitions will give the Lions any proper preparation time and in this day and age it’s just not good enough. So I think this will be the last Lions tour.”
The pressure from the Premiership and Pro12 clubs is also a factor.
The Southern Hemisphere will be desperate to keep the tours and Steve Tew and Kieran Read rejected Jones claim.
I hope the Lions do continue – they are brilliant events in the rugby calendar – no other side on the planet gets travelling support of over 20,000.
But unless the administrators give the Lions a decent chance to prepare and negotiate a far more equable split of the revenue then I fear the Lions are in fact doomed to extinction.