London: Warren Gatland’s third turn as British & Irish Lions coach will likely see a new world record for a rugby Test attendance in the professional era after the schedule was released for the 2021 tour of South Africa on Wednesday.
Soccer City in Soweto, Johannesburg, which staged the 2010 football World Cup final, will host the first of the three Test series with the newly crowned world champions on July 24 with an approximate capacity of 88,000.
A sell-out crowd would be higher than the 84,188, who witnessed the series decider against the Wallabies in 2001.
Gatland, though, will have a sense of deja-vu with regard to the 2017 tour of the then-world champions New Zealand, who ended tied at one apiece, as the English Premiership final will take place just a week before their first warm-up match with the Stormers.
“I am absolutely thrilled,” said Gatland.