British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream — how to watch first Test free

British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream — Faf de Klerk of South Africa A and Tom Curry of the British & Irish Lions at Cape Town Stadium, South Africa, on July 14, 2021.
(Image credit: David Rogers/Getty Images)
British & Irish Lions vs South Africa first test: time, date, channel

The British & Irish Lions vs South Africa first test starts at 5 p.m. BST / 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT today (July 24).
• U.S. — Watch on NBC, Peacock (opens in new tab) or Sling (opens in new tab)
• U.K. — Watch on Sky Sports (opens in new tab)
• Watch anywhere — try ExpressVPN 100% risk free (opens in new tab)

It's time for the British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream, and we're excited to watch online as the Lions return to test action for the first time in four years. And as the first of a three-test series begins, we can't help but think about those on the Tokyo Olympic teams who see four years as chump change. 

And so you're not surprised, the 2021 Lions tour has been changed a bit, just like many live events have been during these last many months. While the on-pitch action will no doubt be as intense as ever, the games will be devoid of spectators and will take place in the same Cape Town stadium over three consecutive weekends. 

Whether that will affect the result remains to be seen: the Lions look very strong, but the Springboks are a mighty force who have the advantage of having played together for years, rather than weeks. South Africa are slight favorites going into it, but this looks like a battle between an unstoppable force and an immovable object and we're not ready to call it.

Both teams are packed with world-class talent. The Lions have six Englishmen, three Welshmen, three Irishmen and three Scots in their side, with captain Alun Wyn Jones alongside Maro Itoje in what looks like a daunting second-row partnership and the likes of Dan Biggar, Stuart Hogg and Robbie Henshaw among the backs.

For South Africa, 11 of the 15 were on the winning side against England in the 2019 World Cup final — this is a side that knows how to handle the big games.

Here's how they line up:

British & Irish Lions

15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland), 14. Anthony Watson (England), 13. Elliot Daly (England), 12. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), 11. Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland), 10. Dan Biggar (Wales), 9. Ali Price (Scotland), 8. Jack Conan (Ireland), 7. Tom Curry (England), 6. Courtney Lawes (England), 5. Alun Wyn Jones (captain – Wales), 4. Maro Itoje (England), 3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (England), 1. Wyn Jones (Wales)

Substitutes: 16. Ken Owens (Wales), 17. Rory Sutherland (Scotland), 18. Kyle Sinckler (England), 19. Tadhg Beirne (Ireland), 20. Hamish Watson (Scotland), 21. Conor Murray (Ireland), 22. Owen Farrell (England), 23. Liam Williams (Wales)

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse

It's all set up to be a monumental test, and you can watch it all via a British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream, from 5 p.m. BST (12 p.m. ET) today. Read on to find out how to watch the first Lions test wherever you are.

How to watch the British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream from outside your country

It's natural that you might want to watch the British & Irish Lions vs South Africa first test live stream from your home country, but what if you're not there when the game is on?

Look no further than a VPN, or virtual private network. A VPN makes it look as if you're surfing the web from your home country, rather than the one you're in. That means you can access the streaming services you already pay for, from anywhere on Earth. Or anywhere that has an internet connection, at least.

For instance, a Brit who's currently in the U.S. could watch the British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream on Sky Sports, even though they're not in the U.K. 

They're totally legal, inexpensive and easy to use. We've tested lots of the best VPN services and our favorite right now is ExpressVPN (opens in new tab). It's fast, works on loads of devices and even offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

ExpressVPN (opens in new tab)

Speed, security and simplicity make ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) our favorite VPN service. In our testing, we were impressed by its fast connection times and by its ability to access more than 3,000 services in 160 locations across 94 countries. Plus, there's a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Using a VPN is incredibly simple.

1. Install the VPN of your choice. As we've said, ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) is our favorite.

2. Choose the location you wish to connect to in the VPN app. For instance if you're in the U.S. and want to view a U.K. service, you'd select U.K. from the list.

3. Sit back and enjoy the action. Head to Sky Sports or another website and watch the game.

How to watch the British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream in the US

how to watch British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream — US flag

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Rugby Union fans in the U.S. can watch the British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream of the first test on NBC's family of networks and their affiliated streaming service Peacock (opens in new tab). It's at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT today (July 24).

If you've cut the cord and don't get NBC or NBC SN through your cable package, you can access those channels through Sling TV and Fubo TV, two of the picks on our best streaming services list. 

If you're usually based in the U.K. and have a valid TV licence, but you're in the U.S. at the moment, you can watch the British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream for free by using a VPN such as ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) to access Sky Sports online.

Peacock (opens in new tab)

Peacock (opens in new tab) boasts a great library, including the entirety of The Office. It's also home to a ton of sports beyond the Olympics, like WWE wrestling, the Premier League, golf and rugby. Peacock Free costs nothing, while the Premium tiers offer access to originals and more movies.

Sling TV (opens in new tab)

Sling TV (opens in new tab) offers two packages, both priced at $35/month. The Sling Blue plan comes with 30-plus channels and includes NBC and NBC SN. Sling is currently offering $25 dollars off the first month.

Fubo.TV (opens in new tab)

If you love sports, check out Fubo.TV (opens in new tab). It's got a 7-day free trial so you don't need to pay up front and has dozens of sports channels, with NBC and NBC SN among them. 

How to watch the British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream in the UK

how to watch British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream — British flag

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Sky Sports (opens in new tab) is the home of the Lions tour in the U.K., so rugby fans should point their remotes to the pay-TV service to catch the British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream. The first test starts at 5 p.m. BST today (July 24), but coverage begins at 3.30 p.m. 

If you can cope with not watching it live, Channel 4 will be showing highlights later in the day, which means it'll also be available via its All 4 online portal (opens in new tab).   

If you're not in the U.K. but have a valid U.K. TV licence, you can still follow the Lions tour game by using one of the best VPN services, such as ExpressVPN (opens in new tab)

How to watch the British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream in South Africa

British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream — South African flag

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The Lions tour will obviously be big news in the rugby-mad host nation, and the British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream will be shown exclusively on subscription service SuperSport. 

That means you can also tune in via the network's streaming service (opens in new tab) for PC and Mac, and via its dedicated smartphone app for iOS (opens in new tab) and Android (opens in new tab).

Not at home but want to follow the game on SuperSport as if you were? A VPN such as ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) could be the answer.

How to watch the British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream in Australia

How to watch British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream — Australia flag

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Streaming service Stan will be showing every Lions game in Australia, which means Aussies can watch the British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream via its new Stan Sports platform (opens in new tab).

If you're not currently in Australia, you can use a VPN such as ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) to watch all the action on your Stan account, just like if you were back home. Just bear in mind either way that the time difference isn't helpful to Aussie rugby fans — the game begins at 4 a.m. AEST.

how to watch British & Irish Lions vs South Africa live stream — VPN statement

Formerly Editor in Chief (U.K.) on Tom’s Guide, Marc oversaw all gaming, streaming, audio, TV, entertainment, how-to and cameras coverage, and was also responsible for the site’s U.K.-focused output. He is now U.K. Editor in Chief on TechRadar. Marc previously edited the tech website Stuff and has tested and written about phones, tablets, wearables, streaming boxes, smart home devices, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, games, TVs, cameras and much more. He also spent years on a music magazine, where his duties mainly involved spoiling other people’s fun, and on a car magazine. An avid photographer, he likes nothing better than taking pictures of very small things (bugs, his daughters) or very big things (distant galaxies). When he gets time, he also enjoys gaming (console and mobile), cycling and attempting to watch as much sport as any human can. He's also fallen in love with Wordle over the past six months and is the author of our today's Wordle answer column, in which he supplies hints and strategy tips for the mega-popular word game. Given he's completed every single Wordle so far and only lost once, and analyzed every Wordle answer in search of patterns, he's well qualified to help you safeguard your streak.