Listen to Lawrence Dallaglio, former England captain, discuss the upcoming Lions 2021 series in South Africa with fellow columnists Stephen Jones, rugby correspondent, The Sunday Times, Stuart Barnes rugby columnist, The Times and The Sunday Times and hosted by Owen Slot, chief rugby correspondent, The Times.
Tours by the British & Irish Lions are part of rugby's greatest traditions. The first foreign rugby tour by British players was made to Australia in 1888 when the party had to make a six-week voyage to reach Australia - but almost 125 years on the Lions are more relevant and more high-profile in the modern game than ever.
The attraction to the players lies partly in the crusading nature of the tours and also the chance to form an iron bond with those who have previously been ferocious opponents in the Six Nations. There are fewer sporting occasions more dramatic than a Lions Test, in any of the hosting nations.
This time the single most vivid visual characteristic - the sight of over 30,000 Lions followers forming enormous banks in the stadium and painting the host cities in Lions red - will be sadly missed. The Covid pandemic will remove the backdrop. But from everything that the chosen players have said, the 2021 series in South Africa will be as fervently-contested as ever, and despite it all, the history and the present of the famous touring team will be augmented once again.
You can read Lawrence Dallaglio's memories of the 1997 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa here.
Throughout Lions our talented team of writers at The Times and The Sunday Times, will provide unrivalled coverage and analysis from South Africa.