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British & Irish Lions

Jones: Being named Lions captain for 2021 Tour ‘a huge privilege’



Photo by Dan Sheridan - Pool/Getty Images

The 35-year-old Wales legend will look to emulate Willie John McBride in 1974 and Martin Johnson in 1997 by leading the tourists to a series victory against the Springboks.

It will be Jones’ fourth consecutive Tour, 12 years after first donning the famous red shirt for the first time in all three Tests of the dramatic 2009 series defeat in South Africa.

Gatland names British & Irish Lions squad for 2021 Tour

He has won a further six caps for the Lions since then, against Australia in 2013 and New Zealand in 2017, with his nine Tests more than any other player in the professional era.

And upon learning Warren Gatland had selected him to be his skipper, Jones reflected on the great players who have previously captained the Lions before him.

“It is a huge privilege to be selected in the squad initially. That is what you want to hear first as a player,” said Jones, who led Wales to the 2021 Six Nations title.

“To have the armband is a privilege in the fact of when you look who has gone before and what they have achieved in this jersey and for their respective home nations.

“I had a call from Gats (Warren Gatland) on Sunday evening, well, a missed call actually. I thought I had better give him a call back. We had a quick chat and I accepted obviously.

“Initially the draw is to get into the squad, and then anything can happen from there and you have your hat in the mix to be selected and obviously having the armband is a huge privilege.

“But initially it was all about the squad selection and I have a huge amount of pride to add this to the CV but there is a lot of work to do and some huge games to face.”

Being selected as Lions captain is the latest honour to be added to Jones’ remarkable CV, which includes five Six Nations titles – three of which were Grand Slams – with Wales.

He also holds the all-time record for the most Test appearances, with 157 during his illustrious 15-year career so far, including the nine consecutive caps won for the tourists.

Gatland explains why he named Alun Wyn Jones as his Lions captain

But South Africa will not be the first time Jones has captained the Lions, with the lock leading the tourists in the decisive third Test win in Sydney against the Wallabies in 2013.

Not being a man prone to self-promotion, Jones admitted he only told his closest inner circle about being awarded the armband again – an achievement steeped in history.

“Obviously [I told] the nearest and dearest, kept it pretty tight on request from Gats for obvious reasons but a lot of these things seem to get out one way or another,” he said.

“I can just tell Gats it was kept tight my end. It is just obviously a hot topic, but it is nice that it is announced now and official.

“As a child growing up, as a supporter and now as a professional, the significance of this honour isn’t lost on me.

“As a rugby player you want to be involved in those Test matches this summer, but there is a long way to go and a lot of rugby to play before then.”

Jones could match fellow Wales and Lions legend Graham Price in South Africa by playing in 12 consecutive Tests and he is well aware of the importance of the tourists.

talkSPORT wins exclusive rights to broadcast Lions Tour

“I think the word that was definitely used in last couple of Tours I have been on is custodianship,” he said, when asked to explain what the Lions means to him.

“Once you become a Lion you might not see people for a while or interact, but you are all connected through the jersey across the home nations.

“That is something very, very special. It is hard to explain but I like to think it is something that hasn’t changed from amateur through to professionalism.

“Growing up you want to play for your country and dream about playing for the Lions.”

But despite finding out he would be leading the Lions in South Africa on Sunday, Jones revealed he had to wait and find out who would be joining him like everybody else.

“It was just a one to one, no other information is passed on,” he said of the call with Gatland. “As a supporter for so long that is what makes it special, finding out who is selected that way.

“Lions is all about the supporters so the fact they find out at the same time as the players it is really special. This is something I’m hugely proud of and passionate about.”

He added: “I want to say a huge thank you to my wife, my sister and my mum, for all their support through all the tough times and particularly the good times.”

Source – British & Irish Lions by Andy Baber

British & Irish Lions

The moments that made Stuart Hogg



Scotland’s record try-scorer Stuart Hogg, Lion #783, has announced his retirement from rugby with immediate effect.

Hogg, a three-time British & Irish Lions tourist, had initially planned to hang up his boots after this autumn’s Rugby World Cup but said in a statement that “my body has not been able to do the things I wanted and needed it to do”.

An electric full-back, Hogg made history during the 2023 Six Nations by winning his 100th cap for Scotland, a feat only achieved by three others.

It has been some journey, with Hogg making his professional debut for Glasgow Warriors at 18, before going on to represent Scotland and The British & Irish Lions, becoming one of his nation’s greatest ever players.

The full-back turned fly-half on Lions Tour duty has been a regular fixture for Scotland and the Lions over the past decade, but it has not all been plain sailing.

So, after joining Sean Lamont, Chris Paterson and Lion #772 Ross Ford in Scotland’s exclusive 100 club and as he prepares for the final months of his rugby career, we look at six moments that made Stuart Hogg.

1.       Scotland debut 

After thriving for Glasgow and Scotland U20, Hogg earned his first senior Scotland call-up for the 2012 Six Nations, aged just 19.

He missed out on the Calcutta Cup at BT Murrayfield, but found himself on the bench in Round 2 for the trip to Cardiff, poised to make his mark on the international stage as a fresh-faced teenager.

The opportunity came earlier than expected, with Hogg coming on for the injured Max Evans on the left wing after only 16 minutes.

That day did not go Scotland’s way, as Wales won 27-13 on the way to the Grand Slam, but it was a landmark day for Hogg, who had some impressive touches and found himself in the starting line-up at BT Murrayfield when France came to town a fortnight later.

It was on his first Scotland start that he scored his first Scotland try in a 23-17 defeat, and he would go on to start the remaining matches against Ireland and Italy.

2.       Lion #783 

After an excellent maiden Six Nations, 2013 proved to be a year of even more progress for club and country.

Named in the Pro 12 Dream Team after a stellar season for Glasgow, Hogg started in all five Six Nations matches, scoring against both England and Italy.

Those performances saw the full-back selected for The British & Irish Lions Tour to Australia, where, as the youngest player, he would be responsible for the safety of the Lions mascot, BIL.

He went on to make his Lions debut in the Tour opener against the Barbarians in Hong Kong, as Warren Gatland’s men raced away to a 59-8 win.

In the match against Combined New South Wales-Queensland Country, Hogg played the full 80 minutes at fly-half, scoring a try and four conversions in a 64-0 win.

He featured in five of the ten Tour matches, and although he did not make the Test team for this tour, he had made his mark on Tour as the Lions claimed a first Test series win since 1997.

3.       2017 Tour: what could have been 

By 2017, Hogg was an established international and won his 50th cap during the Six Nations that year, while he had also won the Pro 12 with Glasgow in the 2014-15 season.

Thus, it was no surprise to see him called up to his second Lions Tour to world champions New Zealand.

Welsh stars Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny were both on Tour, while the likes of Elliot Daly and Anthony Watson could also play full-back, but Hogg was a strong candidate to start in the Tests and make his Lions Test debut.

He started in the opener against New Zealand Provincial Barbarians, which the Lions won 13-7, but disaster struck the next time Hogg took to the field.

After just 19 minutes in the match against the Crusaders, he chased after his own kick, running into teammate Conor Murray’s elbow, which resulted in a fractured cheekbone and saw him ruled out before the Test matches began.

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4.       Scotland captaincy 

Not one to let heartbreak get him down, Hogg went on to become an even more prominent figure in the Scotland national team and in 2020, was named captain.

In his first Guinness Six Nations as captain, he led Scotland to three wins, defeating Italy, France and Wales – with the victory in Llanelli being Scotland’s first Championship win in Wales since 2002.

A year later, he led the side to even more success, as Scotland defeated England at Twickenham for the first time since 1983 and France at the Stade de France for the first time since 1999.

5.       Third time lucky in South Africa 

That form in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, saw Hogg selected for his third Lions Tour, and this time there was pressure for Hogg to finally earn his Lions Test debut.

After initially missing out on the first three Tour matches due to Covid-19 enforced isolation, He captained the side in the wins over both the Emirates Lions and the DHL Stormers, before finally being named among the starters for the first Test against the Springboks.

He played the full 80 minutes as the Lions took a 1-0 lead in the series with a 22-17 win, before being named at full-back again for the second Test, which the Lions lost 27-9.

It was a long time coming, but finally Hogg was a Test Lion.

Stuart Hogg main

6.       The record breaker 

Hogg remained Scotland captain for the 2021 Autumn Nations Series as Scotland defeated Australia 15-13 to win three consecutive matches against the Wallabies for the first time since 1982.

The week after that, Hogg levelled Scotland and Lions legends Tony Stanger and Ian Smith, scoring a brace of tries in a 30-15 defeat to South Africa at BT Murrayfield to reach 24 international tries.

A week later and Hogg scored again in the 29-20 win over Japan, making him Scotland’s outright all-time top try scorer.

This announcement means he will not add to those history-making exploits but the Hawick flyer will forever be remembered as one of his country’s finest players.

Source – British & Irish Lions

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British & Irish Lions

British & Irish Lions announce itinerary for 2025 Tour of Australia



The British & Irish Lions have today released the nine-match schedule for the 2025 Tour to Australia including three Test matches against the Wallabies.

The British & Irish Lions have today released the nine-match schedule for the 2025 Tour to Australia including three Test matches against the Wallabies. Two years out from the Tour, it’s been confirmed that the eagerly awaited Test clashes will take place on 19 July, 26 July and 2 August. The Lions will travel to Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney respectively for the Test matches.

2025 Lions Tour to Australia (kick off times TBC)

  • 28 June, Lions vs Western Force, Perth (Optus Stadium)
  • 2 July, Lions vs Queensland Reds, Brisbane (Suncorp Stadium)
  • 5 July, Lions vs NSW Waratahs, Sydney (Allianz Stadium)
  • 9 July, Lions vs ACT Brumbies, Canberra (GIO Stadium)
  • 12 July, Lions vs Invitational AU & NZ, Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
  • 19 July, 1st Test, Lions vs Wallabies, Brisbane (Suncorp Stadium)
  • 22 July, Lions vs Melbourne Rebels, Melbourne (Marvel Stadium)
  • 26 July, 2nd Test, Lions vs Wallabies, Melbourne (Melbourne Cricket Ground/MCG)
  • 2 Aug, 3rd Test, Lions vs Wallabies, Sydney (Accor Stadium)

The British & Irish Lions will travel throughout Australia with games taking place in some of the most impressive stadiums in world sport.

The Lions will begin the Tour in Perth against the Western Force before facing fellow Australian Super Rugby Pacific sides, the Queensland Reds, the NSW Waratahs, and the ACT Brumbies. The Lions will continue their preparation for the first Test by facing an invitational Australian and New Zealand team in a clash at the Adelaide Oval.

Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium will host the first Test on Saturday 19 July. Following this, a midweek warm up fixture against Melbourne Rebels will take place at Marvel Stadium on Tuesday 22 July.

The second Test will be played on Saturday 26 July at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which has a capacity of 100,000. A potential sell-out crowd at the renowned venue would be a record for a British & Irish Lions Test.

This Test would also represent one of the highest attendances at a rugby match in history. The final Test will be played in front of over 80,000 fans at Sydney’s Accor Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday 2 August.

A strong partnership and a common goal between The British & Irish Lions, Premiership Rugby and the United Rugby Championship has resulted in the Lions having a two-week preparation period before the Tour commences, giving the Lions the best chance of regaining the Series on Australian soil, a country where they enjoyed their last tour win in 2013. Further detail around pre-tour activities, including a pre-tour warm up fixture, will be announced at a later stage.

Details on the Tour schedule follow the announcement of major commercial partners for the Tour, with The British & Irish Lions recently confirming global rugby brand Canterbury as official kit provider and the global insurance group Howden as official front of shirt/jersey sponsor. Confectionery brand Cadbury’s and sportswear manufacturer Asics will continue as the Wallabies official front of shirt and kit partners.

The 2025 Tour to Australia promises to be one of the most eagerly anticipated tours in history considering the absence of fans for the 2021 Tour of South Africa.

Supporters who want to be part of the greatest experience in rugby can guarantee their place for ticket-inclusive travel packages to Australia with The British & Irish Lion’s own travel company, Lions Rugby Travel.

Priority Access Passes are on sale now which will ensure a priority window on packages when they become available. Passes are fully refundable should you choose not to travel and come off your final balance when you book. To purchase Passes or for more information, click here. 

“We are delighted to announce the Tour schedule today as we look ahead to what is to be one of the most eagerly anticipated Series in history,” said Ben Calveley, CEO of The British & Irish Lions.

“I want to take the opportunity to thank Rugby Australia for the strong level of collaboration in planning for this tour and we look forward to continuing to work with them over the next two years. I would also like to thank Premiership Rugby and the United Rugby Championship, whose cooperation has resulted in the longest preparation period for a tour in recent history, which gives us the best possible chance of a Series victory. We look forward to continuing to work with our hosts and our partners to create one of the best tours ever”.

“As we begin the countdown to Australia in 2025, The British & Irish Lions brand and organisation has never been stronger with a global fan base of some 14 million people, a significant following and strong level of engagement through our various digital platforms, and a wide range of commercial partners comprised of some of the biggest brands and organisations in the world.

Our ambition is to further build upon this position and make this upcoming tour the greatest Lions tour ever, positioning it as the major global sporting event of 2025.”

Ieuan Evans, Chairman of The British & Irish Lions, added: “British & Irish Lions Tours are unique in the world of sport, both in terms of the ultimate challenge they represent and the cultural impact they have.  Lions tours to Australia have always been memorable occasions and the 2025 Tour promises to be no different.

I know how special it is to pull on that famous red jersey in Australia, having toured there during the 1989 Tour. What I have learned from those special games is how important the fans are to roaring us on to victory so to be able to announce ticket package details is very exciting.

“Being a part of The British & Irish Lions means being able to unite and inspire through extraordinary rugby experiences, and working closely with our host partners in Rugby Australia, we believe that we can provide an epic tour that will be a global sporting event not to be missed”.

Commenting on the announcement, Rugby Australia CEO, Phil Waugh said: “The British & Irish Lions Tour is one of the great sporting festivals – it is a real landmark of Australian and world sport. Rugby Australia is looking forward to welcoming back the Lions for the first time in 12 years – as well as the tens of thousands of Lions fans from the northern hemisphere.

It is an exciting fixture of matches all around the country with the Lions taking on our Super Rugby franchises, three massive Test matches, and a marquee match in Adelaide featuring a combined invitational Australia-New Zealand side.”

Source – British & Irish Lions

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British & Irish Lions

British & Irish Lions confirm kit supplier for 2025 Tour to Australia



The British & Irish Lions is pleased to announce the extension of its partnership with Canterbury, who will remain The British & Irish Lions Official Apparel Partner and exclusive kit supplier for the upcoming 2025 Lions Tour to Australia.

The British & Irish Lions partnered with the renowned sportswear brand for both the 2017 and 2021 Series with the partnership now extending to incorporate the eagerly anticipated 2025 Tour.

The extended partnership will also see the launch of the Lions Origin Schools initiative, marking the first official collaboration between The British & Irish Lions, Canterbury, and schools’ rugby.

This ground-breaking programme aims to celebrate the connection between the Lions and schools that have played a pivotal role in shaping future Lions players.

As a special tribute, participating schools will have the exclusive opportunity to wear a distinctive Lions Origin Schools kit, showcasing their affiliation with the Lions and the heritage of the team.

Alongside the Lions Origin Schools programme, Canterbury, as a Principal Partner of The British & Irish Lions, will also maintain its partnership with the Lions Origin Clubs programme.

This ongoing collaboration underlines Canterbury’s commitment to investing in the development of rugby at all levels and engaging with communities that have shaped the future of the Lions.

Ben Calveley, CEO, The British & Irish Lions, commented “Canterbury have been a fantastic partner to The British & Irish Lions for many years, and we are thrilled to extend our relationship to include the 2025 Tour to Australia.

“With anticipation building, we believe 2025 has the potential to be the greatest Lions Tour ever and the support of Canterbury is crucial as we work in partnership towards that end.”

Tom Halsey, Commercial Director, The British & Irish Lions, said: “The British & Irish Lions is an iconic sporting brand with our famous red jersey at the heart of this, and it is really important to have a partner that enables us to showcase this to the world in the best possible way.

“We are delighted to have the support of Canterbury and look forward to working with them to develop the jersey and kit that will be worn in Australia alongside our wider Lions apparel.”

Simon Rowe, VP Global Sports Marketing, Pentland Brands, said: “This extended partnership is a testament to our longstanding collaboration and shared commitment to investing in, and celebrating, the incredible sport of rugby.

“Together, we will create ground-breaking kits that reflect the spirit of the Lions and push the sport into a new era of Lions fan. Our focus extends beyond the field, as we aim to expand the appeal of rugby to new consumers and ignite their passion for the sport.

“This extended partnership signifies our pride in being part of the Lions journey. With a shared goal of making a lasting impact, we embrace innovation and strive to approach things differently, while maintaining the rich heritage and traditions that make rugby special.”

Source – British & Irish Lions

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