The British and Irish Lions' tour to South Africa next summer is to go ahead as scheduled.

Warren Gatland's Lions will play the opening match of their eight-fixture tour when they face Stormers at Cape Town Stadium on July 3, with the first of the three Tests against the world-champion Springboks taking place at Johannesburg's FNB Stadium three weeks later.

The second Test is set for July 31 at the Cape Town venue and the third for August 7, back in Johannesburg at Emirates Airline Park.

The tour will take place at the same time as the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, which run from July 23 to August 8.

Lions managing director Ben Calveley said in a statement: "The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a lot of disruption to the sporting calendar, but after extensive discussions we are now able to confirm that the Tour dates are as previously announced.

"An enormous amount of planning, especially from a logistical perspective, goes into putting on a Lions series, so it was crucial that a decision was agreed upon in good time.

"I am particularly pleased that we are able to provide some clarity for all those Lions supporters eager to travel to South Africa next summer."

South Wales Argus:

Warren Gatland was Sir Ian McGeechan's forwards coach 11 years ago, when the Boks won a brutal series 2-1, but will return as an unbeaten Lions head coach next summer after beating Australia and drawing with New Zealand.

Gatland said: "Lions Tours are always unique, but to take on the world champions in their backyard will be something very special.

"Having toured there in 2009 I know the scale of the task ahead of us - playing in South Africa presents a number of unique challenges such as playing at altitude, while the Boks will always be physical, aggressive and highly motivated.

"History tells you it's a tough place to tour, but I am confident that we can go there and win."

The tour will be a target for a number of Dragons with back row forward Ross Moriarty aiming for a second tour after being injured in the opening game of the 2017 trip to New Zealand.

Hooker Elliot Dee, tighthead Leon Brown, flanker Aaron Wainwright, centre Nick Tompkins and wing/full-back Jonah Holmes were also named in Wales' Six Nations squad when up-and-coming back rower Taine Basham and fly-half Sam Davies got call-ups because of injuries.

The club and Test calendar is set to be jam-packed because of the suspension of rugby.

The Guinness PRO14 returns on August 22 and the knockout stages of Europe follow in September.

The autumn Test window will open at the end of October and run to December as Unions attempt to raise much-needed funds through Test matches.

Domestic leagues will then start 2020/21, raising the possibility of mammoth campaign for leading players.