The British and Irish Lions will play an historic match in Hong Kong, against the famous Barbarians, a perfect stopover on their way to Australia for the 2013 tour.
B&I Lions Manager Andy Irvine schedule as "another milestone" in the rich history of the Lions.
"Since 1888 when the Lions embarked on their first ever tour, which happened to be Australia, the famous red shirt has become an inspirational symbol of achievement for players in Britain and Ireland,” Irvine said
But the stopover in Hong Kong is another first.
"The Lions receive numerous requests to play matches around the world outside of the traditional tour destinations of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa," Irvine said.
"For 2013 we had the perfect opportunity to play a match in the developing rugby region of Asia, while at the same time break the long journey from Europe to Australia.
"As has become customary we also wanted 10 matches to maximise the essential pre-Test series build up.”
The last tour by the Lions to Australia was in 2001, when the Lions played 10 matches including three Tests.
They won seven matches, including the First Test against the Wallabies, and lost three. These defeats were against Australia A and the Wallabies in the Second and Third Tests. The vital Third Test was won by the Wallabies 16–13 at Stadium Australia, Sydney, in front of a crowd of 84,188 to clinch the series.
"The last Lions tour to Australia in 2001 heralded the dawn of 'The Red Army' with tens of thousands of English, Irish, Scottish & Welsh tourists and ex-pats wearing the red jersey in support of the Lions. We look forward to another challenging tour to one of the world's most beautiful countries,” added Irvine.
British & Irish Lions Chairman, Gerald Davies, said" "With the latest World Cup tournament completed a major focus for the rugby world is now the British & Irish Lions tour to Australia in 2013. Lions tours are hugely popular and outside of World Cup represent one of the game’s major show pieces with global media coverage and ticket sales testament to their popularity.
"It has to be said that the last two series between the Wallabies and the British & Irish Lions have been memorable. In 1989 and 2001 both three-Test series went down to the last match. Of course the Lions were victorious in the series in 1989 but the Wallabies had their revenge in 2001. I am sure that the 2013 series will be just as competitive with the tour re-igniting the fierce but respectful rivalry that exists between the two sides.”
The British and Irish Lions 2013 tour schedule:
Saturday, June 1: v Barbarians, Hong Kong
Wednesday, June 5: v Western Force, Perth
Saturday, June 8: v Queensland Reds, Brisbane
Wednesday, June 12: v Combined NSW-Queensland Country, Newcastle
Saturday, June 15: v NSW Waratahs, Sydney
Tuesday, June 18: v ACT Brumbies, Canberra
Saturday, June 22: v Wallabies, Brisbane
Tuesday, June 25: v Melbourne Rebels, Melbourne
Saturday, June 29: v Wallabies, Melbourne
Saturday, July 6: v Wallabies, Sydney
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Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The Lions are ready to get their Australia tour underway. They arrive in Perth on Monday.
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