Monday, 30 March 2009

Springboks vs British and Irish Lions

New Springbok emblemBritish and Irish LionsI've been a rugby union fan since I was a kid and played the sport competitively throughout my schooldays. The first time I saw the British Lions was back in 1980 when the Springboks (South Africa's national team), lead by eighthman and brilliant leader Morné Du Plessis, beat Bill Beaumont's side 3 - 1 in the Test series. There were a lot of injuries and a lot of players had to be flown in to reinforce the original squad. John Robbie was one of them. He's a well-known TV & radio presenter in SA today. It was a ten-week tour consisting of 18 matches.

I loved those big tours because the touring sides played regional teams as well. This lead to a lot of rivalry between the players in the so-called midweek team and the eventual team that would run out for the Test series. Those long tours are basically unheard of today. That is why I'm really looking forward to this Lions tour in June since they'll be playing ten matches which include three Tests. Due to logistics, money and club commitments I doubt whether the Lions will embark on a similar tour in the future.

Springboks vs British and Irish Lions 2009 tour schedule
(Time: SA local time GMT+2)

Sat, May 303pmHighveld XV v British and Irish LionsRustenburg
Wed, June 37.10pmXerox Golden Lions v British and Irish LionsJohannesburg
Sat, June 63pmVodacom Free State Cheetahs v British and Irish LionsBloemfontein
Wed, June 107.10pmSharks v British and Irish LionsDurban
Sat, June 133pmVodacom WP v British and Irish LionsCape Town
Tues, June 16TBC (3pm)Coastal XV v British and Irish LionsPort Elizabeth
Sat June 203pmSouth Africa v British and Irish LionsDurban
Tues, June 237.10pmEmerging SA v British and Irish LionsCape Town
Sat, June 273pmSouth Africa v British and Irish LionsPretoria
Sat, July 43pmSouth Africa v British and Irish LionsJohannesburg

Springboks - 2007 Rugby World Cup ChampionsThe Springboks are considered favourites by most to win the test series considering they're the current Rugby World Cup Champions; they also beat the British union sides on their last tour in November 2008. The annihilation of England in the 42 - 6 defeat at Twickenham was quite impressive. However, traditionally the British Lions have always been a strong side. Their coach Ian McGeechan is very experienced; this will be his fourth Lions tour.

Roll on June!


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