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British & Irish Lions Tour to Australia 2013

Lions-Tour.com

Australia Want Warm Up Match on 2017 Tour

Australian Rugby Union Chief Executive Bill Pulver has outlined plans for Australia to host a tour match against the British & Irish Lions on the next Lions tour to New Zealand in 2017.

The British & Irish Lions have yet to finalise the schedule for the 2017 tour to New Zealand but Pulver is keen to secure a fixture on Australian soil as part of the tour.

The Lions started their 2013 tour of Australia with a fixture in Hong Kong against the Barbarians and Pulver has indicated that he would be keen to host the Lions if they chose to play any warm up games ahead of arriving on New Zealand soil.

“If they want preliminary games outside New Zealand then we would be a wonderful location for them. We would take it in a heartbeat. That’s one of the conversations we’ve been having with them.” Pulver said.

The idea is one of many being considered by the ARU to compensate for a lack of international rugby next season in the run up to the Rugby World Cup.

The Wallabies only have two tests scheduled for next summer with no Northern Hemisphere tours in June, and two possible fixtures against New Zealand and either South Africa or Argentina ahead of the World Cup.

The British & Irish Lions Win the Series

The British & Irish Lions won the series against Australia on Saturday with a resounding win in Sydney.

The Lions triumphed 16-41 against the Wallabies in what turned out to be a very one sided match in the end. The Lions dominated the first half through an early try from Alex Corbisiero and penalties from the ever reliable boot of Leigh Halfpenny.

n the second half, the Lions weathered an early storm with the Wallabies scoring two quick penalties to bring themselves within three points of the visitors. The Lions responded in style with further tries from Jonathan Sexton, George North and Jamie Roberts without reply to triumph in the series.

The Lions started the match like a rocket, asserting their authority from the first minute with an almighty scrum that pushed the Australians backwards and provided go forward ball for the forwards to drive through the middle. Alex Corbisiero took the ball from Mike Phillips and drove over for the first score of the match inside the first two minutes. The Lions superiority in the scrum continued through a succession of scrums which eventually resulted in the sin binning of Wallaby prop Benn Alexander.

The Wallabies scored a try late in the first half through James O’Connor to bring the Aussies back into the game. Two further penalties after the break brought the Wallabies to within three points of the Lions, but the Lions put the foot down on the accelerator and scored three further tries without response from the hosts. the key turning point was the try from Sexton after a fine move from the Lions with Halfpenny setting sexton free to score. The try was referred to the TMO under suspicion of a forward pass, but it was ruled to be ok and the momentum shifted the way of the Lions.

The floodgates then opened with further tries scored by North and Roberts to cap a comprehensive victory for the British & Irish Lions.

O’Driscoll Dropped As Gatland Picks 10 Welshmen

Ireland Captain Brian O’Driscoll has been dropped from the side to face the Wallabies in the 3rd and final test of the British & Irish Lions series in Australia.

O’Driscoll had been tipped to captain the side, so it is a huge shock for the Irishman to not be chosen to lead the side let alone not actually feature at all in the match day 23.

O’Driscoll took to twitter to express his disappointment at being left out saying “Obviously totally gutted at being left out for deciding Test but all efforts go into preparing the boys to see it through.”

Alun Wyun Jones will instead captain the side because tour captain Sam Warburton is out with a hamstring injury.

The side picked by head coach Warren Gatland contains 10 Welshmen, equalling the highest number of representatives from one nation since a Lions side faced Australia in 1950.

Gatland is the head coach of Wales and it appears that he has chosen to rely on the players he knows best in the crucial series deciding game in Sydney.

The side features six changes from the team that lost to Australia on Saturday in Melbourne.

Centre Jamie Roberts returns in place of O’Driscoll, but takes the inside centre shirt with Wales centre partner Jonathan Davies retaining his place and moving to O’Driscolls 13 jersey.

Prop Alex Corbisiero, hooker Richard Hibbard, back rows Sean O’Brien and Toby Faletau and scrum half Mike Phillips are all selected to start.

In dropping Brian O’Driscoll, Gatland becomes the first coach in 15 years that has left out the Ireland stalwart, Gatland said “It’s not easy for that to be the first time but he is still going to be very important for us in the next 72 hours in terms of his experience and leadership.”

“Brian was disappointed but he appreciated that he was spoken to before the team announcement. Jamie is back fit and has been given the nod because of his partnership with Davies.”

Upon being appointed captain for the decider, Alun Wyn Jones said “Hopefully I’ve been selected for the way I play and not necessarily the way I lead. I played from the start of the tour with an eye on getting into the first Test.”

“To be selected in the position I am for the final Test is a pretty special moment for me personally, but obviously there’s still a job to do.”
The British & Irish Lions team to face Australia:

15: Leigh Halfpenny
14: Tommy Bowe
13: Jonathan Davies
12: Jamie Roberts
11: George North
10: Jonathan Sexton
9: Mike Phillips
8: Toby Faletau
7: Sean O’Brien
6: Dan Lydiate
5: Geoff Parling
4: Alun Wyn Jones
3: Adam Jones
2: Richard Hibbard
1: Alex Corbisiero

Replacements

16: Tom Youngs
17: Mako Vunipola
18: Dan Cole
19: Richie Gray
20: Justin Tipuric
21: Conor Murray
22: Owen Farrell
23: Manu Tuilagi

Warburton Out Of Series Decider

British & Irish Lions Captain Sam Warburton has been ruled out the final test match of the series in Sydney on Saturday.

The Wallabies won the second test on Saturday by recording a 16-15 win over the Lions in Melbourne to set up a series decider at the weekend.

Warburton was helped from the field in the 65th minute of the second test with the Lions at that point leading 9-15.  With the captain off the field, the Lions lacked an real openside at the breakdown and crucially, the Wallabies match winning score came in the final five minutes after sustained pressure on the Lions defence, in which Warburton had been key.

Although the team travelled to Noosa in Queensland for a bit of relaxation ahead of the build up to the second test, Warburton remained behind in Melbourne to have a scan on his hamstring on Monday to assess the extent of the damage. Unfortunately the scan revealed a significant tear which will keep him out of the deciding test.

He will remain with the tour party for the rest of the tour.

Warburton said “It is incredibly disappointing to be ruled out of the tour through injury. I wish the team all the best and hope I can play some part in the build-up this week. I am confident the boys can finish the job off and secure the series win.”

Ireland skipper Brian O’Driscoll is likely to lead the side in Warburton’s absence, in what is likely to be his final British & Irish Lions test.

Lions-Tour.com Supporting Robin’s Fund

We are delighted to announce that Lions-Tour.com are proud supporters of a great new fund raising initiative for the rugby community.

The launch event is a fantastic British & Irish Lions Test Preview Dinner to be held at The May Fair Hotel, London on Thursday 20th June 2013.  Very special guests will be present to review the warm up matches and tour so far, and share their views on the Test Series ahead.  Spaces at this dinner are extremely limited, so to register your interest please contact the Fund at info@robinsfund.co.uk.  For more details about the tour check out the Robin’s Fund web site.

Robin’s Fund has been set up in memory of a great lifelong friend of rugby, Robin Edward Nicholson, who sadly passed away in November last year.  Robin’s Fund has been set up to help out grass roots and start-up rugby clubs throughout the UK and Ireland, with a special focus on clubs in underprivileged areas.

All at Lions-Tour.com hope that the rugby community can come together to show their support for Robin’s Fund.  All funds raised will be used to help provide opportunities for young (and older!) people alike to take part in our great game, through funding for equipment, coaching courses, facilities and more.

What the Lions Tour Means to Deans

It’s always a special moment when your team steps onto the pitch, pitting their guile, strength and skill against the best in the world. For rugby fans though, the sight of your team playing against the Lions is one of the most amazing sights in the world, stirring all kinds of emotions from deep within. It isn’t only the fans who feel this though – the players, coaches and support staff all get the same feelings, and one man who will certainly receive the full barrage of emotions is the Wallabies coach, Robbie Deans.

Deans doesn’t only have the normal expectations on his shoulders though – he has more to contend with than almost any other Australian coach in history. The Lions tour could be his make or break series – the series that decides whether history will render him a flop or give him a brief moment of success in an otherwise unremarkable tenure. So, regardless of the results, Deans will be in the spotlight, either for the right or wrong reasons.

As soon as Deans stepped into the breach, the spotlight was on him, simply due to the fact that he doesn’t hold an Australian birth certificate. For the fiercely proud Aussie supporters, appointing a New Zealander seemed almost akin to heresy. Big things would need to be achieved to forgive this clash of nationalities, but at the time of his appointment, big things almost seemed inevitable. After all, he was seen by most people as the best coach in the Southern Hemisphere, the man who had been a part of the Crusaders’ Super 15 triumphs in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008, so how could a man of his calibre fail to achieve greatness with the Aussies?

This success was a poisoned chalice for Deans though, as however much he achieved, he would still be seen as an underachiever. Let’s not forget that, since being a part of the Aussie set-up, he has beaten South Africa at home 2 years in a row, a feat that had not been achieved for 60+ years, won the Tri-nations in 2011, and beaten New Zealand by a massive margin. On the other hand, he has had some poor losses to Samoa and Scotland, failed to win a Bledisloe Cup and has a somewhat tumultuous relationship with the media, who now dub him as “Dingo Deans”. A mixed bag then: meaning that his legacy is on a knife edge and will be decided by this Lions series.

The current Australian team is also not the strongest to ever set foot on the field, and the mark of a good coach is getting the best out of an understrength squad. People have questioned Deans’ selections before, but the Lions series is a chance for him to prove his doubters wrong and make the big calls that really make a difference. Of course, if the team loses though, his team selections will be pored over and everyone will believe that their choices would have fared better.

Robbie Deans will never go down as an Australian legend – this would simply be impossible now, thanks to previous occurrences. So why is this series so important to him? Well, we’ve already mentioned legacy a few times, and Deans’ legacy will be as a failure if he doesn’t defeat the Lions. Victory, however, will see him go down as passable; adequate; a man who didn’t set the world alight, but who brought some moments of joy to the Aussie supporters. On their day, this Aussie team can defeat the Lions, but can Deans ensure that this day comes at the right moment?

Ilan runs the Australian web site Football Jerseys Online where you can purchase Jerseys from the most popular teams including the British & Irish Lions & the Wallabies.

The Wallabies Level The Series In Melbourne

The Wallabies evened up the test series with a 16-15 win against the British & Irish Lions in Melbourne.

All the action in the first half was dominated by the respective strengths in the set piece from both sides.

The Lions lead the early exchanges with a series of rolling mauls to heap the pressure on Australia early on. Leigh Halfpenny kicked the first points of the game after the Wallabies collapsed the maul.

The Wallabies came back roaring back at the Lions. They targeted Mako Vunipola in the scrum and won two penalties as a result of Vunipola dropping the scrum, both of which were converted by Christian Leali’ifano to give the wallabies the lead.

Vunipola was under huge pressure from the Australians and with the Lions avoiding the scrums where possible it was ironic that the next scrum was created as a result of Vunipola himself knocking on in midfield.

Vunipola responded by holding his end up and Adam Jones won the penalty on the other side. A further test in the scrum from Vunipola resulted in another penalty chance for Halfpenny.

The Lions took the lead on the stroke of half time courtesy of another penalty from Halfpenny following a kick chase from George North.

After the break, the match was a more cagey affair, with the scores remaining tight until the 60th minute when Leigh Halfpenny fired a long range penalty through the posts to take a 9-15 lead, but the big drama was yet to come.

The Wallabies threw the kitchen sink at the Lions, and the Lions picked up key injuries in the pack, not least to skipper Sam Warburton.

Australia built momentum slowly and were throwing the ball out wide trying to get the dangerous Israel Folau into play, but the Lions were defending for their lives inside their own half.

The Lions repelled wave after wave of attacks and eventually the defence broke and Adam Ashley-Cooper crashed through Jonathan Davies to score leaving the Wallabies a conversion from the lead.  Leali’ifano duly did the business under pressure with just three minutes left on the clock.

The Wallabies then reverted to defence mode to secure the ball and run down the clock, but with just twenty seconds left the Lions won the penalty inside their own half and charged forward.

An number of last ditch attacks after the hooter ensued and the Lions won the penalty on the halfway line.  With no time for an attacking set piece the decision was between kicking for goal from distance of running the ball again with the danger of losing possession and the match.

Halfpenny steps forward and takes the kick on, but it was right on the edge of his distance and despite a  valiant effort on goal, it falls short and the Wallabies kick it out to level the series.

Lions captain Sam Warburton “We’re going through what Australia went through last week. They boys will realise we’ve still got a Test series up for grabs. There’s some good stuff in there. We’re definitely capable of winning the Test series. It’s going to be won by a whisker next week and I hope it’s us.”

 

Youngs and Bowe Among Five Changes For Second Test

Ben Youngs and Tommy Bowe have been named in the British & Irish Lions team to face Australia in the second test in Melbourne.

Welsh Flanker Dan Lydiate also comes in to the side to replace Tom Croft, together with lock Goeff Parling and Mako Vunipola in a total of five changes from the first test.

The Briths & Irish Lions lead the test series 0-1 having beaten Australia 21-23 in a tense encounter in Brisbane last Saturday.

Tommy Bowe comes into the side following the remarkable recovery from injury to his hand.  Bowe fractured his metacarpal bone in his right hand and has had three screws inserted in it.  he will play with a hurling glove on Saturday.

Ben Youngs has been named as a replacement for Mike Phillips, who the Lions management went to great lengths to say was fit but was being rested as an injury precaution for the third test.

Youngs will appear alongside his brother Tom who become the first set of brothers to play in a Lions test together since Gavin and Scott Hastings in 1989.

Commenting on the number of changes to his side Lions head coach Warren Gatland said “I don’t know about not changing a winning side, it is about picking the best team to do the job for us.”

“We can win this series by winning on Saturday and that is what our whole focus needs to be. The last thing we want to do is think about it being 1-1 and having to play another game in Sydney. Everything for us is about Saturday night.”

The British & Irish Lions team to face Australia:

15: Leigh Halfpenny
14: Tommy Bowe
13: Brian O’Driscoll
12: Jonathan Davies
11: George North
10: Jonathan Sexton
9: Ben Youngs
8: Jamie Heaslip
7: Sam Warburton (c)
6: Dan Lydiate
5: Geoff Parling
4: Alun Wyn Jones
3: Adam Jones
2: Tom Youngs
1: Mako Vunipola

Replacements

16: Richard Hibbard
17: Ryan Grant
18: Dan Cole
19: Tom Croft
20: Sean O’Brien
21: Conor Murray
22: Owen Farrell
23: Alex Cuthbert

The Lions Nil The Rebels in Final Midweeker

The British & Irish Lions beat the Melbourne Rebels to round off the provincial tour matches with a deserved victory 0-35.

First half tries from Connor Murray and Sean Maitland gave the Lions a 0-14 lead at half time.  Further scores after the break were registered from Sean O’Brien, a penalty try and Ben Youngs.

Owen Farrell kept up his extremely high kicking percentage by converting all three tries from out wide he kicked.  Farrell has now converted every single kick with the exception of one on this tour to keep the Lions other high percentage kicker Leigh Halfpenny on his toes.

Both sides eschewed possible penalty kicks at goal in the first half in favour of scoring tries, but neither side were rewarded from the set pieces to justify their decision not to kick.

Murray scored an opportunist effort following excellent work by the Lions scrum to force the Rebels almost back over their own line.  The ball squirted out the back of the ruck and Murray picked it up and spun round to finish smartly.

Sean Maitland rounded off a complete move from the British & Irish Lions, with the ball running through a number of Lions hands before being well finished by the Scots winger.

After the break Sean O’Brien registered another score after some excellent line out work.  Two previous line outs had not gone to plan so the decision to stick with the line out when a scrum could have been taken was a bold call and the Lions were rewarded for getting it right at the third attempt.

The Lions forwards were rewarded again for their efforts on the 62 minute mark when they rumbled a rolling maul imperiously towards the Rebels line.  The hosts had no option but to cynically pull it down as the Lions were on the charge over the line and referee Glen Jackson had no option but to award the penalty try and bin the most culpable offender in the Rebels pack.

Ben Youngs rounded off the scoring with another opportunist try after taking the ball off the back of the line out and bursting through the Rebels defence to score under the posts.

The result was an emphatic response following the defeat against the ACT Brumbies last Tuesday in the last outing for the midweek side.

British & Irish Lions captain for the match Dan Lydiate said “We definitely had to up our game coming here.  It was always going to be tough but getting the result on the weekend helped.  A lot of the boys missed out on selection last week so it was important to play well tonight.”

Head Coach Warren Gatland said “It was really pleasing. I thought today our set piece was good, we defended strongly.  I think a lot of the players made up for last weeks disappointment.  Putting a scratch team together was tough on the players last Tuesday, but you can see having the players together and running a few combinations made a difference.”

“We talked about keeping the tempo up and keep playing and they had a licence to do that.  I think you can see we’re in pretty good nick and the players have to just enjoy those moments.”

On the potential for players in this game to make the test side at the weekend he added “We haven’t really thought about the test side yet, but we’ll do that tonight.  It’s not over yet, but we’ve got a chance on Saturday to finish things off. We said to the players there will be opportunities, its not just about the 15 or 23, it’s about the whole squad out here.”

The Lions move on to play the second test match against Australia also in Melbourne on Saturday.

Paul O’Connell Ruled Out Of Test Series

British & Irish Lions lock Paul O’Connell has been ruled out of the rest of the tour after picking up an injury in the 21-23 win against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.

O’Connell fractured his arm in a collision when Wycliff Palu dioved into a ruck and O’Connell’s arm was in the way.

England lock Geoff Parling has been withdrawn from the side to face Melbourne Rebels on Tuesday in a move that is likely to result in his inclusion in the team for the second test on Saturday.

Wales lock Ian Evans has replaced Parling in the side to face the Rebels, with Tom Croft named on the bench.  Dan Lydiate will take over the captaincy of the side.

The Lions are also monitoring the fitness of Alex Corbisiero who also damaged his calf in the win.

Ireland prop Tom Court was called up on Sunday and immediately takes his place on the bench for the match against the Melbourne Rebels on Tuesday.

The revised side to face Melbourne Rebels is:

15: Rob Kearney
14: Sean Maitland
13: Manu Tuilagi
12: Brad Barritt
11: Simon Zebo
10: Owen Farrell
9: Conor Murray
8: Toby Faletau
7: Sean O’Brien
6: Dan Lydiate  (c)
5: Ian Evans
4: Richie Gray
3: Dan Cole
2: Richard Hibbard
1: Ryan Grant

Replacements

16: Rory Best
17: Tom Court
18: Matt Stevens
19: Tom Croft
20: Justin Tipuric
21: Ben Youngs
22: Billy Twelvetrees
23: Stuart Hogg

 

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