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By AFP


British and Irish Lions to face combined All-Blacks-Wallabies team

A combined Anzac team last played in 1989.


The British and Irish Lions will face a joint Australia-New Zealand side in an unofficial “fourth Test” on their 2025 tour, which will include matches against the Wallabies in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, it was announced Wednesday.

The clash against an “Anzac XV” in Adelaide will be part of a nine-game visit that will also see the Lions, with players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, take on all five Australian Super Rugby sides.

“The British and Irish Lions tour is one of the great sporting festivals — it is a real landmark of Australian and world sport,” said Rugby Australia chief and former Wallabies legend Phil Waugh.

“It is an exciting fixture of matches all around the country with the Lions taking on our Super Rugby franchises, three massive Test matches, and a marquee match in Adelaide featuring a combined invitational Australia-New Zealand side.”

The official announcement called what shapes as a blockbuster Anzac clash as “something of a fourth Test”.

Rare fixture

A combined Anzac team last played in 1989 when they lost 19-15 to the Lions at Ballymore in Brisbane, but it was mostly Australians with just three All Blacks taking part.

The game fell between New Zealand Tests against Argentina, and All Blacks players made individual choices about whether they would risk injury and play.

Sydney’s Stadium Australia and the Melbourne Cricket Ground were locked in for Lions Tests under long-term funding agreements and there had been speculation that Adelaide Oval could be awarded the third.

Instead, it will host the “Anzac XV” with Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium preferred.

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The Lions last tour saw them in South Africa during the Covid pandemic in 2021, losing two of the three-match series under coach Warren Gatland when no fans were allowed in stadiums.

They only play the Wallabies once every 12 years. When they last met in 2013, also a three-match series, the Lions won 2-1, with New Zealander Gatland again at the helm.

The tour will start in Perth against Western Force on June 28 before taking on the Queensland Reds (July 2) and NSW Waratahs (July 5).

They will then head south to play the ACT Brumbies (July 9) ahead of the Anzac clash on July 12.

The first Wallabies Test is in Brisbane on July 19, followed by a game against the Melbourne Rebels (July 22) ahead of the second Test in Melbourne (July 26) and the final Test in Sydney on August 2.

British and Irish Lions 2025 schedule

Saturday June 28: Lions v Western Force, Optus Stadium, Perth

Wednesday July 2: Lions v Queensland Reds, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Saturday July 5: Lions vs New South Wales Waratahs, Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Wednesday July 9: Lions v ACT Brumbies, GIO Stadium, Canberra

Saturday July 12: Lions v Invitational Australian and New Zealand XV, Adelaide Oval

Saturday July 19: Lions v Wallabies, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Tuesday July 22: Lions v Melbourne Rebels, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne

Saturday July 26: Lions v Wallabies, Melbourne Cricket Ground

Saturday August 2: Lions v Wallabies, Stadium Australia, Sydney

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