LIONS stars will be banned from going on wild and boozy nights out in South Africa
Jason Leonard, nicknamed the 'Fun Bus' for his party-loving lifestyle, says the legendary bar crawls won't be possible due to the strict Covid rules on tour – with South Africa also prohibiting alcohol sales at times during the pandemic.
England World Cup winner Leonard, the man described by Sir Ian McGeechan as the ultimate tourist, was the protagonist in one of the most bizarre tales from 1993.
At the end of a big night out in New Zealand, prop Leonard chucked a huge boulder into a ravine to check how deep it was as he took a short-cut home through a farmer's field.
Leonard said on The Good, The Bad and The Rugby podcast: "I got this old moss-covered rock and it took all my strength to move it, it was huge.
"I tip it in, thinking this b****** will make a splash, so as I chip it in, all this chain comes fizzing past me – I thought bloody hell was that?!
"At the end of it, there was this. . . baaaaa – and this goat goes flying down this ravine.
"Me being a city boy, I didn't know farmers tied farmyard animals to objects like that.
"I've never found out what happened to that goat!"
And now the Lions chairman reckons that these kinds of tales will be impossible to match in 2021.
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Leonard said: "In my experience as a player, you would play say the Stormers in Cape Town on a Saturday afternoon, then go out afterwards for a few beers down the Waterfront.
"That won’t be happening, or popping out to a braai. We’ll have to comply with whatever the medical and scientific advice given to us.
"If that cuts short some of our activities, we have to do it.
"The only thing that’s 100 per cent is we’re not going to have a traditional Lions tour in whatever shape or form.
"We won’t get the tour we want, South Africa won’t get the tour they want, the players most probably won’t get the tour they want, the fans won’t get the fan experience they want."
Last week the Lions confirmed they were pushing ahead with plans to tour – after pulling the plug on shock contingency options to stage it in Australia or at home.
But there is still a chance the whole thing might not survive.
Leonard admitted: “The pandemic has created an enormous amount of uncertainty in that aspect so we have to recognise that it could be a possibility, but we are not thinking about that.
"We are determined to help South Africa with the tour and go forward."
Leonard also confirmed that plans are going ahead over reducing the amount of travelling – with games likely to be held in just Johannesburg and Cape Town.
There are also huge doubts that fans will be allowed to travel from the UK and Ireland.
Supporters based in the UK are banned from flying abroad until May 17 at the earliest – a month before Warren Gatland's tourists jet south.
South African's own highly-contagious Covid variant has also seen them placed on the red-list of banned countries.
So anyone who lands in the UK from there, has to quarantine for 10 days.
But Leonard added: "We’re hoping that there will be crowds.
Everyone involved would love fans in the stadium… The alternative is no Lions tour and a Lions tour with no fans is better than no tour at all.
"We would hope that would be UK & Ireland fans as well, but, we can’t say that at this moment in time.
"We’re hoping, in a few months time that could well be possible.
"Everyone involved would obviously love fans in the stadium, our fans as well and not just the South African fans.
"This is a big thing that South Africa is talking with their government about getting crowds in the stadiums.
"Where that level will be, we will have to see, again with the uncertainty in the world.
"But we are hoping – and we are still a few months away – that this could take place in front of some spectators.
"How many remains to be seen at this moment in time.
"The alternative is no Lions tour and a Lions tour with no fans is better than no tour at all for a die-hard Lion like me it is pretty simple."
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