The British & Irish Lions have a big few weeks coming up. The rugby squad have one pre-tour match this Saturday before heading out to South Africa to play eight matches across three different cities in the country. 

If you'd like to tune into the matches as they air, then we have everything you need to know. We also have similar articles for Euro 2020, and The Olympics

When does the British & Irish Lions South Africa tour start?

Before the Lions kick off the tour, they will have a pre-tour match on Saturday 26 June 2021 at 3pm BST, in which they will face Japan. The first official match will kick off on Saturday 3 July at 5pm BST against Emirates Lions. 

What dates do the Lions play?

Warren Gatland's squad will be playing eight matches on the tour, as well as a pre-tour warm-up match. Here's who their opponents will be, the kick-off times and the locations.

  • The British & Irish Lions Vs Japan: 26 June at 3pm BST, BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh
  • Emirates Lions Vs The British & Irish Lions: 3 July at 5pm BST, Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg 
  • Cell C Sharks Vs The British & Irish Lions: 7 July at 7pm BST, Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg 
  • Vodacom Bulls Vs The British & Irish Lions: 10 July at 5pm BST, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
  • South Africa A Vs The British & Irish Lions: 14 July at 7pm BST, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • DHL Stormers Vs The British & Irish Lions: 17 July at 5pm BST, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • South Africa A Vs The British & Irish Lions: 24 July at 5pm BST, Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
  • South Africa A Vs The British & Irish Lions: 31 July at 5pm BST, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg 
  • South Africa A Vs The British & Irish Lions: 7 August at 5pm BST, FNB Stadium, Johannesburg 

How to watch the British & Irish Lions Tour in the UK

Each match in the fixture list will be shown on Sky Sports and Sky Sports HD, as well as on the Sky Go app.

The only exception to this is the pre-tour warm-up match, which will air on Channel 4. 

For The British & Irish Lions Vs Japan, you can either watch Channel 4 on your TV - it's available on all standard TV packages. Alternatively, you can create a free account online and watch via All 4

If you don’t have Sky Sports then you can sign up in a few different ways to catch the action.

The best way to see the Lions play without subscribing to Sky is by getting a Now Sports membership. You can buy a day membership (£9.98) or a month membership (£33.99) to Sky Sports to watch on your TV, phone and tablet. You can buy these passes from the Now website.

You can join Sky Sports from as little as £27 per month. If you're an existing Sky customer, you may be able to get this channel for cheaper. Virgin also offers bundles with Sky Sports included

How to watch if you’re not in the UK

For viewers based in the US, you can tune into the test matches via NBC Peacock. Plans start from $4.99 per month, and the service even has a seven-day free trial for all new customers. 

The other way to watch the Lions tour from outside of the UK is by using a VPN. This is a software you can download to your phone, tablet or laptop to browse the internet as if you're from another country. 

VPN

Our top recommendation is Nord VPN, but you can also check out our round-up of the best VPNs for more. Once you've downloaded your VPN, connect to a UK server and then open your website of choice. For the sake of ease, we recommend creating an account before you leave the UK - as all you need to do then is sign in and watch as normal via your VPN. 

All 4 is free to use, but Now will require UK bank details for payment. If you need more information, take a look at our pieces on how to watch All 4 from abroad, and how to watch Now from abroad