Lions Tour - ‘Boys from the bush’ hope for future Lions fixtures

Tim Davidson hopes a valiant second-half defensive effort against the Lions will help to secure the fixture for future tours.

Lions Tour - ‘Boys from the bush’ hope for future Lions fixtures

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British and Irish Lions player Conor Murray (front) scores a try as Combined NSW-Queensland Country's Nathan Trist fails to stop him during their rugby union game at Hunter Stadium (Reuters)

Commonplace on the longer tours of the pre-professional era, the value of such outings for a Lions squad preparing for a Test series against the Wallabies at the very peak of the game has increasingly been questioned.

Davidson, who led a team containing a carpenter, a plumber and a medical student, thinks, however, that such matches are a vital link to the grassroots of the game in Australia.

"It's important there's a future for it not only for Country rugby but also for the wider community in Australia," the number eight said.

"I think the buy-in and the lengths that the game goes to to spread the game is hugely important to the Australian community.

"I really hope this is a fixture in the future because not only does it give boys from the bush an opportunity to play against an outstanding touring side, but all the history that goes with it is just fantastic.

"It's something that the guys, who have come together for just a short time, will remember for the rest of our lives.

"In times ahead we'll get together and discuss what a fantastic opportunity it was and I think that's really what rugby is all about."

While dissatisfied with his team's performance in the second-half, Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll paid tribute to the enthusiasm of the Combined New South Wales and Queensland Country players.

"It's what you expect," said the Irishman, who was playing his second match on his fourth tour.

"The guys get an opportunity to play against the Lions and not many people get to do that, and when it comes around and for them to get the opportunity...

"I was talking to them after the game and they were excited about it and they weren't going to leave anything behind. We definitely felt a couple of impacts.

"When you're playing any opposition and you're playing in that red jersey you going to expect that."

Local electrical engineer Lewie Catt, who lined up against O'Driscoll for the Country team, sat proudly wearing the Irishman's red shirt and was thankful he had a day off work on Wednesday to recover from the match.

"The souvenir's good but the experience is better," he said. "Everyone's from the country, tough, and they're going to be sore tomorrow."

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