British and Irish Lions: Tourists to face the best of the Pacific XV in 2025
The British and Irish Lions are set to face two invitational sides in 2025, including a match against a Pacific XV.
The 2025 tour is starting to take shape, with the three-Test series set to be accompanied by two games against the invitational teams, the Pacific XV and Anzac XV, as well as matches against the Super Rugby franchises.
The tourists are set to face off against a team comprising of the best players from Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Papua New Guinea, according to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald.
The invitational sides could provide the Lions with better preparation for the Test series after Warren Gatland’s 2021 squad posted big scorelines against the South African United Rugby Championship sides.
SMH state that the Lions will face the Pacific XV and Anzac XV. They will also clash with three Super Rugby teams, namely the Waratahs, Reds and Brumbies, as the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force miss out.
On the last tour to Australia, the Lions lost to the then Jake White-coached Brumbies but defeated the Barbarians, Western Force, Reds, Combined Country, Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels.
Closely fought warm-ups
Rugby Australia is keen to avoid blow-out scorelines in favour of the Lions and wants more evenly fought clashes.
NRL players could also feature against the Lions with a potential spot opening up in the Pacific squad list.
RA chairman Hamish McLennan told the Herald that an NRL player could feature “if they make the cut”.
The proposed Pacific XV is still being negotiated between the Lions, New Zealand Rugby and Oceania Rugby but could be finalised in the next couple of months, with tickets going on sale soon after.
New Zealand Rugby is open to the idea of the Anzac XV but will be hosting France in three-Test series and require clarity over the timing of the clash.
While the Melbourne Rebels have missed out on a clash with the Lions, the city is set to host one of the three Test matches.
Sydney has locked in the other, with the third yet to be determined.
Brisbane is eager to host one of the Tests but faces stiff competition from South Australia and Western Australia.
In 2013, Gatland’s Lions squad defeated Australia 2-1. Ireland head coach Andy Farrell is currently the favourite to coach the tourists in 2025.
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