The British and Irish Lions are a rugby team composed of international players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, who tour against Southern Hemisphere sides primarily of South African, Australian and New Zealand opposition, though Lions have also toured against Canada, Fiji.
While the ‘British Lions’ moniker was only formally adopted on the 1950 tour of Australia and New Zealand, the name had been used by journalists since the 1924 tour of South Africa, and combined representative teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales first toured in 1888. The British and Irish Lions originally played in a predominantly blue strip, but changed to a red and white strip for the 1950 tour of New Zealand. Irish forward Willie remains the British and Irish Lions’ most-capped player, making 17 Test appearances.
The British and Irish Lions’ most recent tour was of South Africa in 2009, when the Lions lost a three-Test series against the Springboks 2-1 under the guidance of Scottish coach Ian McGeechan after narrowly losing the opening two matches 26-21 and 28-25. Following a highly successful 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign as coach Wales, Warren Gatland will coach the British and Irish on their 2013 tour.
In 2013 the British and Irish Lions will tour Australia with the centrepiece being three Test matches against the Wallabies. On April 30 coach Warren Gatland named a 37-man squad for the Australian tour, with Welsh forward Sam Warburton being named captain.
The last time the British and Irish Lions met the Wallabies was in 2001 when a highly fancied Lions team led by Sir Clive Woodward and captained by Martin Johnson lost the series 2-1. The Wallabies overturned a 1-0 series to win 2-1 in what would be coach Rod Macqueen’s final Test series as Wallabies coach.
Click here for their upcoming matches: 2013 British and Irish Lions: full fixtures
Following wins over England, Wales as well as Italy on their 2012 Spring Tour, the Wallabies will confident of denying the British and Irish Lions their first series victory in Australia since 1989.
Twitter: British and Irish Lions