When does the Lions tour start? Dates of British & Irish Lions rugby fixtures in South Africa – and TV coverage

Warren Gatland has named his Lions team for the first Test against South Africa

The British and Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa is under way, with the squad to play their first game on South African soil on 24 July.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland named an expanded 37-man squad for the eight-match tour of South Africa - culminating in three Tests against the world champions.Here’s the full list of fixtures for the 2021 Lions tour of South Africa - and how to watch on TV.

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Alun Wyn Jones will captain the British and Irish Lions for the 2021 tour of South Africa. (Pic: Getty)

When does the Lions tour start?

The Lions began their summer fixtures on familiar ground when Japan visited Murrayfield on Saturday 26 June 2021, which saw Warren Gatland's squad gain a 28-10 warm-up victory over Japan.

Gatland’s Lions played a series of fixtures against Emirates Lions, Cell C Sharks, South Africa 'A' and DHL Stormers before the first of three Tests against the Springboks on Saturday 24 July.

What is the full schedule of Lions tour fixtures?

Confirmed dates and venues of the British and Irish Lions vs South Africa tour:

Saturday 26 June - Lions vs Japan - BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh - KO: 3pm (BST)

Saturday 3 July - Emirates Lions vs Lions - 14-56

Wednesday 7 July - Cell C Sharks vs Lions - 7-54

Saturday 10 July - Cell C Sharks vs Lions - 31-71

Wednesday 14 July - South Africa A vs Lions - 17-13

Saturday 17 July - DHL Stormers vs Lions - 3-49

Saturday 24 July - Lions vs South Africa - Cape Town Stadium - KO: 5pm

Saturday 31 July - Lions vs South Africa - Cape Town Stadium - KO: 5pm

Saturday 7 August - Lions vs South Africa - Cape Town Stadium - KO: 5pm

How can I watch the Lions tour on TV?

All Lions tour matches will be shown live on TV.

Sky Sports won the television broadcast rights to the 2021 Lions tour of South Africa and will show all the action live through one or more of its dedicated channels.

Sky Sports packages cost upwards of £18 per month for individual channels for existing Sky customers, while the complete sports package costs £25 per month.

The matches can also be heard over the wireless through radio station TalkSport.

Channel 4 have the rights to the Lions’ pre-tour game against Japan and will be showing highlights of the South Africa Tests. All4 will show highlights from all tour matches.

Who made the 2021 Lions tour squad?

Alun Wyn Jones was named the British and Irish Lions captain for the 2021 tour of South Africa moments before the full squad was revealed. And here it is:

Backs: Josh Adams, Bundee Aki, Dan Biggar, Elliot Daly, Gareth Davies, Owen Farrell, Chris Harris, Robbie Henshaw, Stuart Hogg, Conor Murray, Ali Price, Louis Rees-Zammit, Finn Russell, Duhan van der Merwe, Anthony Watson, Liam Williams.

Forwards: Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Zander Fagerson, Taulupe Faletau, Tadhg Furlong, Jamie George, Iain Henderson, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones (capt.), Wyn Jones, Courtney Lawes, Ken Owens, Kyle Sinckler, Sam Simmonds, Rory Sutherland, Justin Tipuric, Mako Vunipola, Hamish Watson.

Lions team announcement for first Test vs Springboks

British and Irish Lions: Stuart Hogg, Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly, Robbie Henshaw, Duhan van der Merwe, Dan Biggar, Ali Price, Wyn Jones, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones – captain, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Ken Owens, Rory Sutherland, Kyle Sinckler, Tadhg Beirne, Hamish Watson, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, Liam Williams.