The South Africa Lions rugby team is coming to America to play in three April fixtures. The Lions were relegated from Super Rugby after finishing last season on the bottom of the table and the tour is part of their preparations to make a quick return to the competition.
Rugby fans in the U.S. are familiar with the Lions as U.S. international Todd Clever played with the side in 2009-10. The golden locked flanker was the first American to play in the South African Super 14, now known as Super Rugby. Clever is rumored to be penciled in on the Lions tour roster.
The Chicago Lions is the only club side to face the Lions. They will host the visitors on April 27. Before that match, however, the Lions will play two matches against a U.S. invitational side on April 13 and April 20 in Irvine, CA and Vancouver, respectively.
"This is superb news for rugby in the United States, and having various international rugby brands travel to North America only helps promote this wonderful sport we love. Hopefully this will strengthen the idea of professional rugby teams playing the domestic USA Eagles, and increasing the local opportunity for television coverage of rugby." said The Rugby Corner owner Dallen Stanford on Paki’s Corner.
In addition to the U.S. portion of the tour, the Lions have matches scheduled against international opponents Russia, Namibia, and Samoa as well as the other Super Rugby sides.
Lions 2013 playing schedule:
January 19 v Russia at Ellis Park
January 23 v Cheetahs at Ellis Park
February 2 v Bulls at Orlando Stadium
February 9 v Kings at Ellis Park
February 23 v Namibia in Windhoek
March 16 v Mont de Marsan at Ellis Park
April 13 v US Invitational in Irvine, California (USA)
April 20 v US Invitational in Vancouver (Canada)
April 27 v Chicago Lions in Chicago (USA)
May 11 v Agen at Ellis Park
June 1 v Samoa at Ellis Park
June 8 v French Barbarians at Ellis Park
June 15 v Stormers at Ellis Park
June 21 v Sharks at Ellis Park
July 12 v Montpellier at Ellis Park
July 20 v Grenoble at Ellis Park
July 27 - promotion/relegation - opponent and venue TBC
August 3 - promotion relegation at Ellis Park - opponent TBC
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