Tag: British and Irish Lions

Eight new test Lions to face Australia

The British & Irish Lions today announced the team to play the Qantas Wallabies in the 1st Test at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.

The starting XV comprises eight new Test Lions and will be captained by Sam Warburton.

In the backs Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, George North, Jonathan Davies and Jonathan Sexton all make their Lions Test debuts, while experience is provided by Brian O’Driscoll and Mike Philips, who have nine Lions Tests between them.

The forward pack contains a wealth of Lions Test experience with Jamie Heaslip, Tom Croft, Paul O’Connell, Alun Wyn Jones and Adam Jones sharing 17 Tests.

Loose-head prop Alex Corbisiero, who joined the tour as a replacement, also makes his debut along with Warburton and hooker Tom Youngs.

British & Irish Lions Tour Manager Andy Irvine said: “We are now at the business end of the tour. You can feel the excitement and commitment within the squad now that we are back in Brisbane and the 1st Test is just days away.

“I congratulate all the players who are making their Lions Test debut on Saturday. Playing against the Wallabies for the Lions is a major milestone in a player’s career and I am confident they will all uphold the history and tradition of the Lions by giving their all.”

Head Coach Warren Gatland said: “After six matches we have arrived at the 1st Test and have selected our strongest possible side with only Jamie Roberts,Tommy Bowe and Manu Tuilagi unavailable for selection.

“The Wallabies at home pose a huge challenge but the Test team contains 20 of the players that played against the Waratahs in what was our best match to date. We now have a couple of more days of match preparation to ensure we improve again on that performance.”

British & Irish Lions (v Qantas Wallabies, June 22, Brisbane)
15. Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
14. Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
13. Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster/Ireland)
12. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets/Wales)
11. George North (Scarlets/Wales)
10. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/Ireland)
9. Mike Phillips (Bayonne/Wales)
1. Alex Corbisiero (London Irish/England)
2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)
3. Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales)
4. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales)
5. Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland)
6. Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers/England)
7. Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues/Wales, capt)
8. Jamie Heaslip (Leinster/Ireland)
Replacements
16. Richard Hibbard (Ospreys/Wales)
17. Makovina Vunipola (Saracens/England)
18. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers/England)
19. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers/England)
20. Dan Lydiate (Dragons/Wales)
21. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)
22. Owen Farrell (Saracens/England)
23. Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors/Ireland)

Lions pay tribute at Australian War Memorial

A delegation from the British & Irish Lions visited the Australian War Memorial to pay their respects and recognise the fallen from Britain and Australia yesterday.

From a rugby perspective, a tribute was paid to Blair Swannell and Tom Richards, who represented both the British Isles and Australia during their rugby careers.

Blair Swannell was English-born and played international rugby for the British Isles (as the British and Irish Lions team was then called) on their 1899 tour of Australia and 1904 tour of Australia and New Zealand. After settling in Australia, he played a single game for the Australian national team. He died in 1915 serving the Australian Imperial Force during the First World War.

Thomas Richards was born in Australia to a family who had emigrated from Cornwall. He grew up in the gold mining town of  Charters Towers in Northern Queensland. He too played rugby for both Australia and the British Isles and fought in the First World War. The Tom Richards Trophy, the trophy that is played for between Australia and the British and Irish Lions,  is named in his honour.  

A British & Irish Lions delegation visiting the Australian War Memorial yesterday,  from left, Rory Best from Ireland, Scotland's Richie Gray, Lions Captain Sam Warburton from Wales and England's Tom Croft.
A British & Irish Lions delegation visiting the Australian War Memorial yesterday, from left, Rory Best from Ireland, Scotland’s Richie Gray, Lions Captain Sam Warburton from Wales and England’s Tom Croft.