British and Irish Lions to Play Twice at Suncorp Stadium in 2013

Australian Rugby Union today confirmed the nine-match schedule – including three Tests against the Qantas Wallabies – for the long-awaited return to Australia of the British and Irish Lions in 2013.

The Lions – selected from the best players in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – visit Australia only once every 12 years, and will reignite a rivalry that exploded in 2001 when the Wallabies won a thrilling and sold-out series by two Tests to one.

On the 2013 Tour, the Lions will play in six cities around Australia, including Newcastle where the visitors will take on a Combined NSW-Queensland Country side.

Three Tests against the Qantas Wallabies and five showdowns against the Australian Super Rugby teams – the Reds, Waratahs, Brumbies, Rebels and Force – will complete a compelling itinerary for the iconic Home Unions selection.

The Lions open their Australian tour in Perth against the Western Force on Wednesday, 5 June.

Three days later they will play the reigning Super Rugby champions, the Queensland Reds, at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, 8 June.

Working their way down the eastern seaboard, the Lions will play Combined Country in Newcastle on Wednesday, 12 June, followed by the NSW Waratahs at Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday, 15 June.

The Brumbies host the next midweek encounter on Tuesday, 18 June, with the first Test four days later at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday, 22 June.

The last of the Lions’ midweek matches will be against the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on Tuesday, 25 June.

The final two Tests will be held on Saturday, 29 June, at Etihad Stadium and ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday, 6 July.

“The Lions tour here in 2001 was an extraordinary event and one which provided significant economic benefit to those cities which hosted major matches,” said ARU Managing Director and CEO John O’Neill AO.

“More than 8000 Lions supporters came to Australia from the UK and Ireland on official tour packages and many more thousands made their own way here.

“Four years ago in South Africa there were said to be 40,000 Lions fans that made the trek there to support their team.

“A Lions Tour is a massive occasion. Behind the Rugby World Cup it is the most engaging, high-profile and popular event our game can showcase.

“It is not just about the three Tests. It is about the hype and momentum a tour of six weeks develops.

“Back in 2001, the feature of the First Test was the seas of Red as the Lions fans dressed en masse in the team’s colours to show their support.

“It was a wonderful time and an unforgettable tour and 2013 promises to be even bigger and better.

“The tradition and history of the Lions continues with every tour they embark on to New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.

“The Lions tour only once every four years, so they visit the big three Southern Hemisphere nations only once every 12 years.

“As in 2001, we also expect demand for Lions tickets to be extraordinarily high. It will be a tour not to miss.”

Before arriving in Australia for their nine-match Tour, the Lions will kick off their campaign with a match in Hong Kong against the Barbarians on Saturday, 1 June.

The full Lions Tour schedule is:

Saturday, 8 June Lions v Queensland Reds Brisbane
Wednesday, 12 June Lions v Combined NSW-Qld Country Newcastle
Saturday, 15 June Lions v NSW Waratahs Sydney
Tuesday, 18 June Lions v Brumbies Canberra
Saturday, 22 June LIONS v QANTAS WALLABIES Brisbane
Tuesday, 25 June Lions v Melbourne Rebels Melbourne
Saturday, 29 June LIONS v QANTAS WALLABIES Melbourne
Saturday, 6 July LIONS v QANTAS WALLABIES Sydney


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