One of the heroes of the last Lions series will be back to haunt Britain and Ireland’s elite when they head to Hong Kong on June 1.
Warren Gatland’s troops kick off their 125th anniversary tour with a mouthwatering clash with the Barbarians at the Hong Kong Stadium and Springbok star Jaque Fourie is looking for more of the same after he broke Lions’ hearts back in 2009.
Fourie scored a crucial try just six minutes from the end of the second Test in Pretoria as the then World Champions ran out 28-25 winners in a sensational encounter that saw them seal series success with a game to spare.
And now the former Golden Lions and Stormers centre will be looking to leave a similar legacy against the class of 2013 after he was among five big names announced by the Baa-Baas on Wednesday.
Fourie, who now plays his club rugby in Japan, will be joined by Italian duo Sergio Parisse and Martin Castrogiovanni, French No8 Imanol Harinordoquy and Samoan scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'I as the invitational XV face the Lions a week after taking on England at Twickenham.
Parisse and Harinordoquy will pose a huge challenge for whoever is selected in an already much-talked about Lions back row, while Fotuali'I and Castrogiovanni could come up against a host of club colleagues at the 40,000 capacity stadium.
Fotuali'I currently plays his domestic rugby with the Ospreys and may well be pitting his wits against the likes of club captain Alun Wyn Jones and 2009 Test Lion Adam Jones, while Castrogiovanni could pack down across the scrum from the man who prevents him from starting as regularly as he would like at Leicester in England’s Dan Cole.
“It is a great honour to play the Lions as well as England and we are very conscious of the need to invite the strongest possible squad to do justice to two great fixtures,” said Barbarians team manager and former Lions Test star Derek Quinnell.
“This year's summer tour is a very important one for our club.
“As the weeks go by and national squads are selected and domestic cup and league competitions reach their final stages, we are monitoring who will be available to us.
“We then decide on the best balance of our squad in all positions and will make further announcements in due course.”
The Barbarians will be coached by triple Lions tourist Dai Young and it is unlikely the Welshman will be the only man with substantial links to the Lions to take a central role this summer.
Young was part of the Lions’ last victorious adventure in Australia 24 years ago and then returned to Oz with Graham Henry’s 2001 squad as the Wallabies gained revenge with a 2-1 series success.
The Wasps boss also tasted glory with the Lions in South Africa in 1997 – the last time the tourists returned from the southern hemisphere with the series spoils.