Liam Williams British & Irish Lions confirm eight-match schedule for 2021 tour of South Africa

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The British & Irish Lions confirmed they will only play two midweek fixtures in South Africa on their 2021 tour as they announced their schedule on Wednesday.

As Sportsmail has widely reported previously the trip in the home of the new world champion-Springboks will consist of eight matches in five weeks.

That is down from the 10 that was played in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa in 2017, 2013 and 2009 as the tour is squeezed.

The British and Irish Lions have confirmed only two midweek fixtures will be played in 2021

The three Tests remain with the first played on July 24, 2021 at the FNB Stadium in Soweto – which was known as Soccer City when it hosted the 2010 football World Cup final.

That game could see the highest attendance for a Lions game in the professional era as it has an 88,000 capacity for rugby.

The second Test will be in Cape Town but not at Newlands, the traditional home of rugby. Instead they will play at the Cape Town Stadium on the waterfront which holds 55,000.

And the final Test will take place back in Johannesburg on August 7, but at the iconic Ellis Park where Nelson Mandela handed Francois Pienaar the World Cup in 1995.

‘I am absolutely thrilled with how this schedule looks,’ said head coach Warren Gatland, whose Lions beat Australia in 2013 and drew the series with New Zealand in 2017.

‘Touring South Africa is always a huge challenge, not only from a rugby perspective, but also in terms of the venues and the conditions facing the players.

The first Test of the tour will be played at the the FNB Stadium in Soweto on July 24, 2021

The second Test will be hosted at Cape Town Stadium on the waterfront which holds 55,000

‘The venues we have agreed – some of which will be new to the Lions – open up the mat

These add-ons are quite astonishing.

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