British and Irish Lions vs Sigma Lions rugby: TV channel, kick-off time, live stream and teams – 2021 Lions Tour opener

THE British and Irish Lions have arrived in South Africa and are ready for their opening match.

And first up they face their namesake, the Sigma Lions, in Johannesburg.

However, they'll be without captain Alun Wyn Jones, who is out of the tour after picking up a shoulder injury in last week's 28-10 win over Japan.

Conor Murray has been made replacement captain by Warren Gatland.

What time does Lions vs British and Irish Lions kick off?

  • British and Irish Lions face the Sigma Lions on Saturday, July 3.
  • The match kicks off at 5pm UK time – 6pm in South Africa.
  • It will take place at Emirates Airline Park – better known as Ellis Park – in Johannesburg.
  • No fans will be in attendance due to coronavirus restrictions.

What TV channel is Lions vs British and Irish Lions on and can I live stream it?

  • Lions vs British and Irish Lions is live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action.
  • To stream the game live, head to Sky Go.
  • Non-Sky Sports subscribers can still watch all the action live with a Now TV Day Pass from £9.99.

Team news

  • Giacomo Pisa


    Here's a look at the British and Irish Lions tour schedule ahead of this evening's fixture against the newly called Sigma Lions.

    Warren Gatland's side have four more warm-up games after today before the mammoth three-test series against the current World Champions South Africa.

  • Giacomo Pisa


    Here's a look at the Lions' opening results on their last six visits to the southern hemisphere.

    • 2017 – 13-7 v NZ Provincial Barbarians
    • 2013 –69-17 v Western Force
    • 2009 – 37-25 v Royal XV
    • 2005 – 34-20 v Bay of Plenty
    • 2001 – 116-10 v Western Australia
    • 1997 – 39-11 v Eastern Province


    A sneak peek inside the away dressing room and the famous red jerseys ahead of kick off.

    We'll be underway in just over an hour's time.

    • Giacomo Pisa


      The Emirates Airline Stadium, better known as Ellis Park, in Johannesburg is the venue for this evening's clash.

      Due to the Coronavirus pandemic the 62,567 seater stadium will be empty and lacking the usually vocal travelling Lions support.

      Credit: Reuters
    • Giacomo Pisa


      This is what Sigma Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen had to say about the game:

      "It’s a big occasion but we have to ensure the players don’t become so star-struck that they can’t play.

      "It’s an opportunity to show them what South African rugby is all about. 

      "After the game, people will have a good idea what this B&I Lions team is all about and how good they are.

      "The tempo of the game will be high and it will be physical. 

      "That is why we need calm heads at two, five, eight, nine, ten and 15. 

      "They are the players that need to make those big calls and get the workers going.

      "This is such a big opportunity for every player involved. 

      "There is such a small group of guys who will have the chance to face players of this calibre in their lifetime. 

      "I hope they truly take a moment to take it in and savour the enormity of the moment."

    • Giacomo Pisa


      And this is what Warren Gatland had to say on the number ten and twelve pairing of Finn Russell and Owen Farrell:

      “They’ve worked really well together.

      "Finn has a slightly different way of playing.

      "He’s matured amazingly in the last few years in terms of his game management and the way he controls the game."

    • Giacomo Pisa


      Here's what British and Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland had to say in his pre-match press conference ahead of today's clash:

      "We’ve had a reasonably good look at them [Sigma Lions] and they’re going to be strong up front.

      "For us the first game on tour is always difficult, just getting up to speed. 

      "They’re probably the least affected of the five teams, or four teams, in terms of the number of players they would have lost to the Springbok squad.

      "They are going to be fairly settled and strong and for a lot of these players it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play against the Lions.

      "They’re going to be incredibly motivated to want to play well. 

      "We understand there’s not going to be any crowds but that’s not going to take away from their desire to want to be the first team to beat the Lions on tour."

    • Giacomo Pisa


      Warren Gatland has these men to call upon off the bench this afternoon:

      16 Cowan-Dickie, 17 Vunipola, 18 Fagerson, 19 Henderson, 20 Simmonds, 21 Davies, 22 Aki, 23 Daly 

    • Giacomo Pisa


      These are the men on the bench for what is expected to be Warren Gatland and the Lions' easiest game of the tour.

      16 Visagie, 17 Sithole, 18 Sadie, 19 E. Tshituka, 20 Straeuli, 21 Van den Berg, 22 Zeilinga, 23 Kriel 

    • Giacomo Pisa


      And this is how the touring Lions line-up for their first game in the southern hemisphere.

      Stuart Hogg skippers the side that has fourteen changes from last weeks win against Japan.

      Winger Josh Adams is the only man who keeps his place from the start.

      1 Wyn Jones, 2 George, 3 Sinckler, 4 Itoje, 5 Hill, 6 Lawes, 7 Watson, 8 Faletau 

      9 Price, 10 Russell, 11 Adams, 12 Farrell, 13 Harris, 14 Rees-Zammit, 15 Hogg (c)

    • Giacomo Pisa


      Right here's the starting fifteen of the first of the two Lions teams.

      The home side and newly called Sigma Lions line-up as follows:

      1 Mcbeth, 2 Botha, 3 Dreyer, 4 Schoeman, 5 Nothnagel, 6 Sangweni, 7 V. Tshituka, 8 Horn (c) 

      9 Smit, 10 Hendrikse, 11 Maxwane, 12 Odendaal, 13 Rass, 14 Ulengo, 15 Viljoen 

    • Giacomo Pisa


      Welcome to our live blog of the British and Irish Lions first game since arriving in South Africa last week. 

      Warren Gatland’s side eased to a 28-10 over Japan last week in Edinburgh and return to action today ahead of the mouthwatering three test series against World Champions South Africa that gets underway later this month. 

      Their opponents today are their namesake, the Sigma Lions, at the Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg. 

      The home side will be known as the Sigma Lions for the first time this weekend after a new sponsorship deal, and will take part in the inaugural United Rugby Championship next season. 

      Warren Gatland makes 14 changes to the side that triumphed over Japan last week, with Welsh winger Josh Adams the only survivor from that starting fifteen. 

      After skipper Alun Wyn Jones was forced off last week with a dislocated shoulder and is a major doubt for the test series Irish scrum half Connor Murray was named as Lions captain for the remainder of the tour. 

      Today though Scotland talisman Stuart Hogg skippers the squad and will be hoping he can lead the Lions to victory in their first of eight matches in South Africa. 

      Kick off in Johannesburg is at 5pm with full team news coming up next. 

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