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British & Irish Lions

Tributes pour in for late Lions legend Doddie Weir



Tributes have been paid to British & Irish Lion #670 and MND campaigner Doddie Weir who has died aged 52.

Weir was called up to the 1997 Lions squad to South Africa and although his tour was cut short due to a nasty injury sustained against Mpumalanga Province, he still described it as one of the greatest experiences of his career.

The second row played 61 times for Scotland, scoring four tries, including two against New Zealand in the 1995 Rugby World Cup quarter-final, making him the only Scottish player in history to score twice against the All Blacks.

He was a club legend at both Newcastle Falcons and Border Reivers, starring in the Falcons side that won the Premiership title in 1998.

In 2017, Weir was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, and became one of the most vocal and prominent campaigners in the world – setting up his charity My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, which has raised more than £5 million since being launched.

Tributes have poured in to honour a true legend of the game both on the pitch and off it, with fellow British & Irish Lion and legendary commentator Brian Moore calling Weir an “outstanding man”.

Weir’s impact on Scottish rugby cannot be overstated and another of the nation’s rugby legends and a former teammate of Weir’s Scott Hastings called him “the most lovable man in the world”.

He has been such an inspiration since his diagnosis, raising both significant funds and also the profile of MND and that has led to him becoming a true national hero, with Scottish footballing icon Sir Kenny Dalglish praising him for his fight against the disease.

The news came during England’s match with South Africa at Twickenham, and when the announcement was made, the whole crowd rose to their feet for a round of applause to show their respects.

Former England captain Dylan Hartley and South African World Cup winner Bryan Habana spoke of Weir’s legacy both in and out of the sport.

Habana said: “He embodied everything the game stands for in terms of respect, charisma, spirit in which the game is played and the humour with which he embraced fellow teammates.

“What he brought to the game of rugby, he was a phenomenal player and what he has done in the last decade with a disease that would have seen a lot of people die a lot earlier, and how much money he has raised.

“Even with the struggles, to be able to walk two or three kilometres, just to be able to show to the world, the character he has.

“To his family, his loved ones, the deepest respect for someone who really lit up this world and made it a better place.”

The tributes kept pouring in, from presenter Gabby Logan – who last year appeared on TV show Who Wants to be a Millionaire to raise money for the foundation, to cycling great Sir Chris Hoy.

Outside the world of sport, author and Scotland fan JK Rowling paid her respects, as did the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Leeds Rhinos great and Leicester Tigers assistant coach Kevin Sinfield, who recently completed seven back-to-back ultra marathons, starting at BT Murrayfield where Weir presented the match ball for Scotland v New Zealand, released a statement.

He said: “Today is a deeply sad day for everyone who knew Doddie but especially his family, who are at the forefront of our thoughts.

“Doddie was a giant as a player but his campaigning following his MND diagnosis made him a colossus.

“When Bryan Redpath first put me in touch with Doddie to speak to Rob Burrow following Rob’s own diagnosis, he immediately said yes without hesitation. The sight of 5’4” Rob and 6’6” Doddie was something that will live with all of us and probably bonded the duo with the great humour they shared.

“Doddie was able to give Rob the greatest gift of hope that night. He has been like a big brother to all of us since that day.

“I know, on behalf of the whole Ultra 7 in 7 team, it was our ultimate honour that Doddie was at Murrayfield just two weeks ago when we set off on our fundraising challenge.

“With his trademark smile, he insisted that he wanted to be there with his new pink trainers on! The fact that a proportion of the money raised from the Ultra 7 in 7 will go to the Foundation set up by Doddie has particular poignancy as we look to continue his legacy on in the years ahead.

“I am honoured to have been able to call Doddie my friend and I know his spirit lives on in all of us who knew him. He will always be a champion.”

Source – British & Irish Lions

British & Irish Lions

Sky Sports secures rights to 2025 British & Irish Lions Tour of Australia



The British & Irish Lions have re-appointed Sky Sports as its broadcast partner for the upcoming 2025 Tour of Australia.

One of the most eagerly anticipated events in the sporting calendar will be shown exclusively live on Sky Sports and NOW in the UK and Ireland as The British & Irish Lions travel to Australia to face the Wallabies.

The Lions tasted Series success the last time they were on Australian soil, with a dramatic 2-1 Series win following a memorable performance in the decisive final Test.

Having been defeated in a Covid-impacted Tour of South Africa back in 2021, the Lions will be aiming to make it a second successive Series win in Australia as they kick off the first Test in Brisbane at the Suncorp Stadium, aptly nicknamed ‘The Cauldron’.

Ben Calveley, CEO of The British & Irish Lions, said “We are delighted to be partnering once again with Sky Sports as our UK & Ireland live broadcast partner for the 2025 Tour.

Sky Sports have been an outstanding broadcast partner to The British & Irish Lions for many years. The quality of production, presenters, expert panellists, and overall analysis they deliver really enriches the Series and makes for a compelling offering for fans watching at home.

Preparations are really starting to ramp up for 2025 and we are hugely excited for the Tour. Sky Sports will play a key role in helping to further build levels of excitement and anticipation amongst fans and we look forward to working closely with them over the coming period.”

Phil Waugh, Rugby Australia CEO, said: “Rugby Australia is excited to be welcoming The British & Irish Lions back to Australia for the first time in 12 years. This iconic Tour and the chance to renew the rivalry between the Wallabies and the Lions promises to be a special occasion for everyone.

We are confident that together, we will deliver a tour that captures the imagination of fans across Australia and Lions fans around the world.

The manner in which Sky Sports covers the tours has always been excellent and I am delighted they are on board again.”

Jonathan Licht, Sky Sports Managing Director, said: “With all its history, the Lions Tour remains one of the most iconic events in the sporting calendar and one we always look forward to at Sky Sports. We’re committed to delivering world-class coverage of what is sure to be another fantastic Series.”

For access-all-areas, interviews, and insight into the Lions camp, fans will be able to follow the latest news from the Tour 24 hours a day on Sky Sports News, the Sky Sports app, on and via Sky Sports social channels.

Source – British & Irish Lions

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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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