Fri, 13 Dec 2019

Dalton: 2021 Lions tour will be a blockbuster

News24
21 Nov 2019, 22:12 GMT+10

Cape Town - Former Springbok hooker James Dalton believes the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 2021 will be a "blockbuster" affair.

While dates and venues are yet to be confirmed for the tour, the Lions will play three Test matches against the Boks and five additional tour matches against South African opposition.

Interest in the series has spiked since the Boks won the 2019 Rugby World Cup final in Japan earlier this month, especially because they beat Wales in the semi-final and then England in the final.

Gatland, who coached Wales in Japan, will take charge of the Lions once more.

"It's remarkable that the best of the British Isles are going to come and play against the world champions. That in itself makes it a blockbuster series," Dalton told Sport24 on Wednesday.

"It's going to be an amazing series ... I'm looking forward to it."

Dalton himself knows how special a Lions tour is and he was a member of the squad that went down 2-1 all the way back in 1997.

Dalton played in the third Test at Ellis Park when the Boks had already lost the series. They finished strong, though, and emerged as 35-16 winners in Johannesburg to salvage some pride.

"We lost the first two Tests by small margins and I do believe it was poor team selections," Dalton recalled of the Carel du Plessis-led Boks.

"It had nothing to with me playing in the third Test - I had been injured - but I think we got the combinations right and we were able to beat them."

The Boks were victorious in 2009, however, when they beat the Lions 2-1 in the series.

Since then, though, the gap between the northern and southern hemisphere sides has shrunk and Dalton believes that will only add to the intensity of the 2021 tour.

"When we would go abroad to play the northern hemisphere teams it wouldn't be a matter of if we were going to win or not, it would be by how much," he said.

"Now there are no certainties and that's what makes international rugby so entertaining to watch ... it's been good for the development of the game."

Now 47, Dalton has released an autobiography entitled .

In the book, he speaks at length about his esteemed rugby career but also opens up on some of the personal issues that have followed him away from the field.

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