British and Irish Lions 125th Anniversary Tour Kicks Off in Hong Kong

Rugby Union—BI Lions
By Bill Cox, Epoch Times
May 30, 2013 Updated: May 30, 2013

The British and Irish Lions arrived in Hong Kong two days ago for their long awaited match against the Hong Kong Barbarians at the Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday June 1. The whole rugby fraternity in Hong Kong is on tenterhooks waiting for the kick off as this is one of the biggest occasions in Hong Kong Rugby history.

Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of their first international tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1888, the Lions begin their tour with a match against the Hong Kong Barbarians, followed by a string of matches in Australia against Super 15 teams, combined county teams and a 3-match Test series against the Qantas Wallabies.

The full program includes an opening match against the Western Force at Patterson Stadium, Perth, on June 5; they then travel to Brisbane to play Queensland Reds, at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday June 8; next they head to Newcastle for a combined NSW/QLD County side on Tuesday June 11 at Hunter Stadium; then it is the NSW Waratahs at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday June 15; followed by a match against ACT Brumbies on Tuesday June 18 at Canberra Stadium.

The first Test is in Brisbane on Saturday June 22, then they head south to Melbourne to play the Melbourne Rebels on Tuesday June 25 prior to playing the Qantas Wallabies at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday June 29.

The third and final Test takes place at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday July 6.

Ulsterman Rory Best got the call-up to join his team-mate Tommy Bows the day before the Lions left for Hong Kong to replace the suspended Dylan Hartley.

The 37 Strong BI Lions Touring Squad:

Rory Best (Ulster and Ireland), Tommy Bowe (Ulster and Ireland), Dan Cole (Leicester and England), Tom Croft (Leicester and England), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues and Wales), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets and Wales), Ian Evans (Ospreys and Wales), Toby Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons and Wales), Owen Farrell (Leicester and England), Richie Gray (Scotland), Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues and Wales), Cian Healy (Leinster and Ireland), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster and Ireland), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys and Wales), Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors and Scotland), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues and Wales), Adam Jones (Neath and Wales), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys and Wales), Rob Kearney (Leinster and Ireland), Dan Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons and Wales), Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors and Scotland), Conor Murray (Munster and Ireland), George North (Northampton Saints and Wales), Sean O’Brien (Leinster and Ireland), Paul O’Connell (Munster and Ireland), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster and Ireland), Geoff Parling (Leicester and England), Mike Phillips (Bayonne and Wales), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues and Wales), Johnny Sexton (Leinster and Ireland), Matt Stevens (Bath and England), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys and Wales), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester and England), Mako Vunipola (England), Sam Warburton (Captain) (Cardiff Blues and Wales), Ben Youngs (Leicester and England) and Tom Youngs (Leicester and England).

Tour Coach: Warren Gatland

For the HK Barbarians:

Backs—J. Payne (Ulster), R. Varty (DeA Tigers and Hong Kong), T. Ngwenya (Biarritz and USA), J. Rokocoko (Bayonne and New Zealand), J. Hook (Perpignan and Wales), N. Evans (Harlequins and New Zealand), K Fotuali’I (Ospreys and Samoa), D. Peel (Sale Sharks and Wales) and D. Yachvili (Biarritz and France).

Forwards—D. Jones (Ospreys and Wales), B. J. Botha (Munster and South Africa), P. James (Bath and Wales), M. Castrogiovanni (Leicester and Italy), M. Rees (Scarlets and Wales), L. Ghiraldini (Treviso and Italy), M. Wentzel (Wasps and South Africa), J. Hamilton (Gloucester and Scotland), F. Louw (Bath and South Africa), S. Jones (Wasps), A. Zanni (Treviso and Italy), S. Parisse (Stade Francais and Italy) and I. Harinordoquy (Biarritz and France).