As the countdown clock for the opening game on the 2013 British & Irish Lions tour reaches 100 days, the Barbarians have revealed they hope to field two of the Lions tormenters from four years ago in their team for the Hong Kong clash.
South Africa’s 2007 Rugby World Cup winning captain John Smit and centre Jacques Fourie are being lined-up to face the Lions once again when the Baa-Baas provide Warren Gatland’s squad with their first opponents on the 125th anniversary tour at the Hong Kong Stadium.
The game on Saturday, 1 June, will be vital to Gatland’s preparations for the nine match trek across Australia that follows, including the three-Test series against the Wallabies.
The Lions have to go back to 1997 for their last series win and it was the currently Japan-based Springbok centre Fourie who turned the tide against them on the last tour.
He crossed for the 25th of his 32 Test tries at Loftus Versfeld in the second international against Paul O’Connell’s Lions to give the home side the boost they needed to clinch a last-gasp 28-25 win. That triumph clinched the series for the Springboks and allowed Smit to add another title to his side’s collection.
The Lions turned the tide in the third Test in Johannesburg, ending their tour on a high with a record equalling 28-9 victory, but the long wait for another series win goes on. Will it come in 2013?
“We have opened talks with a number of world class players across the rugby playing world and John and Jaque are among them. They have both played for us before and would love to have another crack at the British & Irish Lions,” said Barbarians secretary Alan Evans.
“We are recruiting for a squad to play two games, the first against an England XV at Twickenham, and we won’t know who is available until the league and European Cup seasons get to their closing stages. We have a long list of candidates at the moment.
“But we are committed to fielding a world class side against the Lions as we go in search of revenge for our defeat at Twickenham in 1977.”
The Ospreys’ Samoan international scrum half Kahn Fotuali’i is another top quality player who has been pencilled into the squad along with Italian skipper and No 8 Sergio Parisse.
With tickets for all the games in Australia virtually sold-out, the Hong Kong Stadium is set to follow suite soon with the clamour for the 40,000 seats heating up day by day. Tickets can be purchased from hkticketing.com or packages are available from