For many players selection for the British and Irish Lions is the pinnacle of their careers. 2013 promises to be special, the tour will mark the 125th anniversary of the event and opening game between the Barbarians and British and Irish Lions in Honk Kong looks set to be the perfect opener.
The glamourous fixture will take place on Saturday the 1st of June and could attract as many as 30000 traveling fans. There should also be a sizable turn out in Hong Kong itself with many British, Irish and Australian immigrants living in the wealthy city. The Barbarians should present a stern challenge for the lions in what will be a historic and entertaining fixture in front of a lively crowd. The Lions have never played in Hong Kong and will no doubt be keen to give a good impression of themselves against the impressive Barbarians. Of course Hong Kong is only the start. On the 5th of June The Lions will be playing their first of 9 games in Australia against Western Force, the Perth based side will be keen to cause an upset and the lions will have to be on their guard. The tour will end on a high with an attractive fixture against the Wallabies taking place on the 6th of July, hopefully the Lions will be heading home with something to show for their month of rugby.
125 Years Of History
The Lions tour 2013 dates are set and the tour will be a relatively short affair compared to the marathon debut tour of 1888. In fact the present day teams pioneering counterparts didn’t even arrive in Australia until 42 days after they had waved goodbye to their loved ones. The S.S Kaikoura was The Lions transport and she carried them safely from Portsmouth to Tenerife to Cape Town before finally arriving at Dunedin. The conditions on the Kaikoura would have been far from ideal, The Lions had to share her with 300 stoats and the only way to pass the time was to shoot Albatross. The tour itself was a marathon, The Lions played a whopping 35 games in New Zealand before playing 19 games in Australia. All in all they didn’t see home for 249 days, the team must have had remarkable spirit and camaraderie to endure such a mammoth task.
125 years later and the Lions tour 2013 dates have been announced, the current crop of Britain’s and Ireland’s elite rugby players may not have to endure the impracticalities of Victorian travel but they are just as elite as their 1888 counterparts. The tour promises to be a fantastic showcase for the worlds premier rugby union players and hopefully come July the Tom Richards trophy will be on a business class flight to Heathrow with Gatland’s team.
It certainly won’t be for lack of preparation if they don’t Gatland has just finished an assignment to scout the hotels and venues that will host the Lions in the summer. The Lions even have the backing of former England star Jason Robinson who predicted that the Lions would triumph 2:1 in an interview with the daily mail.
Philip Pastorius has written a multitude of articles for a many varying sports and travel websites including http://www.gulliverstravel.co.uk/rugby/british-irish-lions-2013. He has recently written pieces on the Lions tour 2013 dates and the upcoming 2014 World Cup. Pastorius has also written several articles on hockey and the horticultural community in south east England.