The British and Irish Lions are one of the most famous names in rugby union. This iconic touring side will be visiting Australia again in 2013, a trip which promises much excitement.
The famous red shirts of the British and Irish Lions are an integral part of rugby union history. For almost every British or Irish rugby union fan there will be key memories of heroes like Willie John McBridge, Bill Beaumont, Finlay Calder or Gareth Edwards, men who gilded their already considerable rugby reputations with feats on tour with the Lions.
The Lions is something special. Even someone who has never experienced the passion and pride of the four Home Nations coming together as one cannot help but be caught up in the event. Following the events of the tour unfold from back home is exciting, especially when television provides coverage of each game, but it just does not compare with being there.
Tough Tests Down Under
Part of the thrill of a Lions tour is how hard it is for the touring team to emerge victorious from a test series. On their last trip to Australia, in 2001, the Lions lost the test series 2-1. They have also not won in New Zealand or South Africa in the tours which have taken place in the interim. The motivation for success for the British and Irish Lions 2013 should therefore be high.
The coach for the trip is Warren Gatland, a tough New Zealander who has been in charge of coaching Wales. Gatland has also coached Ireland as well as guiding Waikato to success in his native land. He is well familiar then with both Northern Hemisphere rugby union and what it takes to win in the Southern Hemisphere.
Magic Memories to Teasure
While the last trip to Australia resulted in a series defeat, despite some excellent performances from players such as Jason Robinson, there is a rich store of memories of triumph over Australia for the 2013 party to draw on.
Lions legend Ian McGeechan coached the 1989 tour to Australia, with the captain being his fellow Scot Finlay Calder. Despite a battering in the first test, the Lions came back strongly to win the series 2-1. A ferocious performance from the forwards in the second test, which saw a huge punch-up erupt, started, amusingly enough by the two scrum-halves, Robert Jones of the Lions and Nick Farr-Jones of the Wallabies.
The fight sent the message that the Lions were not in Australia to mess about and would not be intimidated by anything that was thrown at them. They will need some of that same spirit if they are to claim a much craved win on Aussie soil in 2013. Make sure that you are there to see it because Lions memories last forever.
William Deans was born in Hawick, Scotland in the 1960s. This is Scotland's rugby union heartland and Willie grew up watching some of Scotland's biggest stars at the time turn out on his local patch. He has followed many rugby tours, both by Scotland and the Lions and now shares his expertise across a range of blogs and travel websites. For more information about the Lions in 2013, please visit http://www.gulliverstravel.co.uk/rugby/british-irish-lions-2013