British and Irish Lions to face Brumbies in Canberra

The ARU announced on Monday that Canberra’s rugby fans will be treated to a visit from the British and Irish Lions during their Australian tour in 2013. 

As well as three Tests against the Wallabies, the Lions will face each of Australia’s five provincial teams including an 18 June showdown against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium. 

The Lions – selected from the best players from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales – visit Australia once every 12 years.

The Brumbies host their midweek encounter on a Tuesday night 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.

Brumbies Head Coach Jake White said the tour would be a fantastic opportunity for his players to test themselves against the best of the British. 

“A Lions tour is one of rugby’s most exciting opportunities both for the tourists and for the boys who get to play against them,” White said.

“For people here in the ACT to be given a chance to see the Lions play at Canberra Stadium is very exciting. You’d expect there will be a huge crowd out to watch them play.

“For everyone involved with the club it is a once in a lifetime chance to be a part of one of world rugby’s most anticipated fixtures. 2013 can’t come fast enough.” 

ARU Chief Executive John O’Neill was also excited about the opportunity to host the Lions on home soil. 

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

“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.”