The 2013 British and Irish Lions head to Australia in what could be the most dramatic series of matches.
The 2013 Schedule
If you’ve never witnessed a British and Irish Lions match at first hand then 2013 provides the perfect opportunity as the team travel down under to face a strong Australian side. With home advantage, the Wallabies will be favourites to win the series but British Rugby is enjoying a resurgence right now and this promises to be the most closely fought Lions tour in living memory.
This year, the British Lions tour starts in Hong Kong with a match against the Barbarians on June the 1st. The Baa-Baas are renowned for their free flowing and entertaining style of rugby so this is a great way to start the trip if you can arrange your travel to take in the tour opener.
From Hong Kong, the British Lions tour heads on to Australia for the main part of the challenge and the very first warm up match takes place in Perth on the 5th of June as the tourists tackle a powerful Western Force XV.
Following that contest, four more warm up matches are scheduled against a combined New South Wales and Queensland team, the NSW Waratahs, the ACT Brumbies and the Queensland Reds. Lions coach Warren Gatland will probably have a strong idea of his starting XV for the first test but these games will give him the perfect opportunity to assess form and fitness ahead of the most important fixtures.
The Test Matches
If you’re unable to travel to Australia for the early matches then you’ll need to know the dates for the tests and you’ll also have to book as early as possible in order to get tickets and travel through your chosen tour provider.
Following those warm up games, the first test takes place at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on the 22nd of June. Following on from that contest, the British and Irish Lions have one final midweek game against the Melbourne Rebels on Tuesday the 25th of June.
The test series should be delicately poised at this stage before the touring players compete in the final two internationals in Melbourne and Sydney on the 29th of June and the 06th of July respectively.
It’s always hard to predict the outcome of a Lions tour and while you may have the best that Britain and Ireland can offer, you can never be completely certain that the players will combine to form a competitive team.
The core of the Lions squad is likely to come from the Wales and England sides who performed best in the 2013 Six Nations tournament. Both countries are strong but the Wallabies will be confident of a series win on home soil.
The 2013 British and Irish Lions tour is one of the most highly anticipated rugby series ever. For the first time in many seasons, the opposing sides are very evenly matched but can the tourists overcome a successful home team and emerge triumphant at the end of the thirst test?
Ian Rice is a freelance journalist who has covered every British Lions Tour for the last twenty years. His rugby previews have been published on a host of online sites and in printed magazines.