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South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus says they explore all options to ensure their summer series with the Lions goes ahead. 

The Lions are due to arrive into South Africa in early July, with Johannesburg scheduled to host the first of three tests with the Springboks on July 24.

The COVID-19 pandemic has cast the tour in serious doubt.

There have even been suggestions that the series could take place north of the equator.

"We desperately want to play them," Erasmus said on Monday, "We will do anything to play them.

"Option A, option B, we will go to option Z ... We will play next year, we will play there, we will play here."

He added, "Some players prolonged their careers just to play in the Lions series and we sacrificed the Rugby Championship last year so that we could be in the best position to play the Lions series."

However, a lack of gate receipts and no travelling fans that would ordinarily accompany the series would render the operation financially unviable for the hosts.

A final decision on the tour is due to be made in February.

Meanwhile, the former Munster chief is no stranger to coronavirus and its effects.

The 48-year old is already in the high-risk category having been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2019.

Erasmus revealed that he and his entire family had been struck down with the virus and are still recovering.

"I did have COVID-19," he said, "And I'm on day 23 now.

"My wife and I contracted it, along with the kids. Their symptoms were just about losing taste, and they didn't feel sick.

"For five to six days, we were pretty bad. That was about days 9 to 14.

"I think at the time we were pretty bad and down-and-out. I was really worried because some of us have underlying illnesses.

"The only thing that's left now is the low heart-rate."

What does appear to be in danger is the Rainbow Cup.

The venture would see the Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and Lions making their first tentative steps towards joining a Guinness PRO16.

But Erasmus says discussions with stakeholders regarding the tournament are ongoing, with a "last resort" playing another Currie Cup.

Alan Quinlan: Irish back row depth chart | Six Nations pressure | OTB AM


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British & Irish Lions Coronavirus Covid-19 Lions Rassie Erasmus South Africa Springboks

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