XchangeTickets.com is an Online Ticket Exchange Marketplace that facilitates fans to buy tickets from approved sellers.

Author: admin Page 3 of 65

British Irish lions Tour: Halfpenny makes history and itoje stands out

The new Guinness PRO14 season and the finale of the regular Premiership campaign ensured there was wall-to-wall rugby drama for fans to gorge on over the weekend.

Internationals from all four nations were in the thick of the action in both leagues as players looked to take a prime opportunity to make a statement ahead of next year’s Tour to South Africa.

British Irish lions Tour:
British Irish lions Tour:

And there was no shortage of British Irish Lions players making the headlines, with three-time tourist Leigh Halfpenny one of those who rose to the occasion in Wales.

Here’s a round-up of all the highlights from an absorbing weekend of action.

Itoje powers Saracens to finale draw 

The end of an era at Allianz Park saw Saracens bow out of the Premiership with a typically resilient performance as they recovered a 14-point deficit to draw with Bath Rugby.

Maro Itoje was awarded for a man of the match display against the top four-chasing visitors, who had surged into a 17-3 lead with tries from England internationals Beno Obano and Ben Spencer.

But a penalty tries and Tim Swinson’s score provided the foundation for Manu Vunipola to clinch a draw for the hosts, giving Richard Wigglesworth and Brad Barritt a fitting send-off.

British Irish lions Tour:
British Irish lions Tour:

There was also plenty of drama elsewhere as Bristol Bears booked their play-off place with a bonus-point win over London Irish, with England’s Ben Earl amongst the tries once again.

Wasps will also contest the semi-finals following a dominant 46-5 triumph against Exeter Chiefs, with Ben Vellacott (2), Jacob Umaga, Dan Robson, Jimmy Gopperth, and Josh Bassett scoring.

Meanwhile, there was an emotional farewell for former England captain Chris Robshaw in his 300th and final Harlequins game as his side beat Leicester Tigers 32-36 at Welford Road.

Halfpenny makes history for Scarlets 

Leigh Halfpenny finished with a record-breaking 27-point haul for Scarlets but his efforts proved in vain as 14-man Munster snatched a dramatic 30-27 victory in Llanelli.

Three-time Lions tourist Halfpenny struck all of his side’s points, with his nine penalties setting a record for Scarlets in one game and equalling the Guinness PRO14’s previous best.

But despite the Irish province having captain, Peter O’Mahony sent off in the 69th minute, a late penalty from replacement Ben Healy completed a stunning triumph for Munster.

Meanwhile, Ospreys also started the new season with an impressive victory over Edinburgh in the Scottish capital as Lions Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric playing key roles in the 25-10 success.

Edinburgh had taken the lead with a penalty try and three points from Jaco van der Valt but a brace from Mat Protheroe and another score from Nicky Smith secured the win for Ospreys.

Bundee Aki also enjoyed a day to remember as the Ireland international scored twice for Connacht as they got their campaign off to a winning start with a 28-24 victory over Glasgow Warriors.

Roberts returns as Leinster begin defense 

Two-time Lions tourist Jamie Roberts made his return to the Guinness PRO14 on Friday night as he featured in a Dragons side which came up against reigning champions Leinster.

British Irish lions Tour:

Roberts arrived at the Welsh region in the summer after a spell in South Africa but the ex-Wales international was unable to prevent Leo Cullen’s men from claiming a bonus-point win.

First-half tries from Garry Ringrose, Jordan Larmour, and James Lowe gave the hosts a 21-0 advantage at the break in Dublin despite Johnny Sexton leaving the pitch after 18 minutes.

Cullen subsequently described his early exit as “a precaution” after watching his side add another two tries after the interval through Lowe and Ryan Baird to seal a 35-5 victory at the RDS Arena.

Roberts, who was the 2009 Lions Player of the Series, spent ten minutes in the sin bin in the first half but also showcased his trademark powerful running during an entertaining first bow.

Elsewhere on Friday night, Josh Adams scored the only try as Cardiff Blues defeated Zebre 16-6 while Ulster overcame Benetton 35-24 in an end-to-end thriller at Kingspan Stadium.

British Irish Lions Tour tickets are available on our website at very discounted prices. So fans can book British lions 2021 Tickets on www.xchangetickets.co.za.

DAFYDD JAMES: “I KISSED THE BADGE AND TOLD MYSELF THAT I HAD DONE IT”

“It was like a scene from Jerry Maguire with the lights and the crowd. It was a sea of red, almost everyone from Wales was there and I knew I was going to score 20 meters out. It was glorious.

Dafydd James can remember everything. He can recall how he felt what he saw and what he thought as he lived a boyhood dream and scored a Test try for The British & Irish Lions in the opening Test of the 2001 Tour. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

The series may have ended in defeat but for James, wearing that red jersey was the pinnacle of a 15-year career that started in Bridgend and finished in Sale via Brisbane Melbourne and Sydney.

DAFYDD JAMES: “I KISSED THE BADGE AND TOLD MYSELF THAT I HAD DONE IT”
DAFYDD JAMES: “I KISSED THE BADGE AND TOLD MYSELF THAT I HAD DONE IT”

The winger was unfortunate to miss out on the 1997 Tour to South Africa and was named as a reserve, watching on from the outside with his face pressed up against the window.

But in 2001, he was front and center of a magical Lions display and scored the second try in a 29-13 first Test win that still ranks as one of their best-ever.

The Gabba may be a fortress for Australia’s cricket team but the Lions ripped the Wallabies apart with three unanswered tries the key moment? Yep, you guessed it.

Graham Henry, an intelligent and creative coach, drilled his charges on a move he’d designed; sensing a weakness in the way Australia defended the scrum.

All-action flanker Owen Finegan was often put on the blindside and Henry was keen to take advantage, telling center Brian O’Driscoll to wrap around the back and run hard Jason Robinson to support and James to finish it off.

Mid-way through the first half the Lions had a scrum on half-way. Cue the music.

“I can tell you the exact minute and second,” James said only half-joking.

DAFYDD JAMES: “I KISSED THE BADGE AND TOLD MYSELF THAT I HAD DONE IT”
DAFYDD JAMES: “I KISSED THE BADGE AND TOLD MYSELF THAT I HAD DONE IT”

“It was textbook, straight from the training field and it happened just like we practiced. Brian O’Driscoll got past a couple, Jason [Robinson] drew in the full-back and then I was in.

“This part is quite poignant but my grandfather was there. He fought in the war and was stationed in Australia, so it meant a lot to him to be there.

“He was sat with family and they told him to beat the crowd and get to the toilet before half-time, so he missed my try He was devastated. We lost him this year but my family being there meant so much more. It was the ultimate high.”

James’ try and Jonny Wilkinson’s conversion stretched the Lions’ lead from two to nine points. It was the closest Australia came. O’Driscoll’s brilliance at the beginning of the second half and Scott Quinnell’s close-range finish completed a brilliant victory.

“The whole day was crazy,” added James who won 48 caps for Wales and played in two World Cups.

DAFYDD JAMES: “I KISSED THE BADGE AND TOLD MYSELF THAT I HAD DONE IT”

“We scheduled a meeting on the day of the first Test and Willie John McBride was there.

“They set us up in a horseshoe formation and he spoke to the group about South Africa 1974. It was so inspirational everyone was engaged and awe-struck by this guy.

“He called out our names 1-23 and presented our jerseys individually. The magnitude and achievement sunk in when I shook his hand and he told me my place was well-deserved. It was so very surreal.

“It was then time to go to the bus but we were told to go to the first floor first which was odd. But when we got out of the lift the bagpipes started and there were 1000 Lions supporters cheering as we made our way out it were mental.

“You wouldn’t have it in any other environment. We were all in the foyer it was very jovial and everyone was chanting Lions. We just had to sign a couple of autographs grab our stuff and sprint. It was carnage but all in the right spirit.

“And then on the journey to the ground it was just a sea of red everywhere. It was jaw-dropping.

“The bus pulled up on the side of the road next to a pub with 1000 people outside partying. They spotted us, so we had to grab our bags and sprint in!

“I was a bag of nerves as we waited in the bowels of the stadium. We were put in this indoor cricket training facility and I took a moment to myself holding the jersey. I kissed the badge and told myself that I had done it. I am going to play for the Lions.”

To wear Lions red mattered more to James than most especially after missing out in 1997. On the day Henry announced his squad, he was too nervous to sit and wait by the radio with his Scarlets teammates.

He went to do extra weight training and it was Gareth Jenkins and Quinnell who delivered the good news.

“My father kept ringing to find out if I knew. He was stressing me out and so I kept telling him to stop calling me He was a bag of nerves. We are a very close family and I rang him back straight away once I found out.”

The ten Wales players selected for the Tour met privately with Henry who told them to embrace it. Weeks later they arrived on a bus to join the rest of the squad at a training camp and were greeted by a familiar face.

“What a leader Martin Johnson was. I remember when us Welsh guys rocked up on the team bus on day one and there he was, waiting for us to get off. He was the enemy for so long but he went out of his way to greet us,” he said.

“He was not the most talkative chap but he had an aura about him, very much like Willie John. He commanded respect and when you have someone like that you build unity. He had your back.”

DAFYDD JAMES: “I KISSED THE BADGE AND TOLD MYSELF THAT I HAD DONE IT”

Johnson led the Lions to the 1997 2-1 win in South Africa but Australia was just too good in 2001.

Joe Roff crossed for two tries in a 35-14 second Test victory before a pair of late Matt Burke penalties gave the Wallabies a 29-23 win in the decider.

“I am not being egotistical but I think that was one of the great Lions squads,” added James. 

“You had Dallaglio, Hill, Wilkinson, Johnson, Robinson. You look at the names and it’s amazing. We were brimming with confidence, on top of our game and shell-shocked them in the opener.

“Australia was a little more streetwise and won. In hindsight, we should have had a couple more down days and rested up. If we’d have done that I’ve no doubt we would have smashed them.”

A Lions series is about so much more than what happens on the pitch. It’s about forming new relationships and friendships, four nations coming together four groups of players becoming one.

“It is only when you get older that you reflect and remember what an amazing experience the whole thing was.

“My first Test jersey has pride of place on the wall in my house. Its 19 years ago but I’ll never forget it.”

British Irish Lions Tour tickets are available on our website at very discounted prices. So fans can book British lions Tickets on www.xchangetickets.com.

More than 300,000 SA fans request tickets to next year’s British Lions tour

It may be just under a year to go until next year’s British and Irish Lions tour, but the South Africans have taken firm control in the battle for tickets. According to SA Rugby, South African fans requested 323,964 tickets for the eight matches of the tour next year. Rugby enthusiasts can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

More than 300,000 SA fans request tickets to next year's British Lions tour
More than 300,000 SA fans request tickets to next year’s British Lions tour

The 2009 British and Irish Lions tour was dominated by visiting fans, but the number of South African requests for the only tour in 12 years may have weighed in on the green and gold.  Also, the fewer number of matches may have played a role in the increased interest in the matches, along with the Boks’ World Championship status.

Warren Gatland and Jurie Roux

The British and Irish Lions, to be coached by Warren Gatland, have not lost a series since the 2009 South African safari. South Africa Rugby chief executive officer Jurie Roux said it was good to see SA fans getting first dibs on the tickets.

“The past few months have been challenging as we fight the Covid-19 pandemic, and it was heartwarming to see the interest of South Africans in experiencing a truly unique tour, which takes place only once every 12 years,” Roux said.

More than 300,000 SA fans request tickets to next year's British Lions tour
More than 300,000 SA fans request tickets to next year’s British Lions tour

“As we expected, the interest in the three Trials was extremely high, they are subscribed two or three times more, but we are sure that we will get as many people as possible to enter the stadiums.”

We are offering British lions rugby tickets so Rugby fans can get British irish lions tour tickets through our trusted online ticketing marketplace. Xchangetickets.com is the most reliable source to book British and irish lions tour tickets.

Government to make the British & Irish Lions tour a protected event

Trade and Industry minister Ebrahim Patel has gazetted a new directive which aims to have the 2021 British and Irish Lions Rugby Tour of South Africa designated a protected event.

Section 15A of the Merchandise Marks Act empowers the minister to declare a major sporting or other events to be a protected event. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

According to Stellenbosch University’s Professor Owen Dean, the declaration of a protected event aims to prevent ambush marketing and pronounces violations of the provisions to be criminal offenses.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup enjoyed the benefits of such protection and it was widely used by FIFA.

Government to make the British & Irish Lions tour a protected event
Government to make the British & Irish Lions tour a protected event

Ambush marketing takes place where a non-sponsor of a major event seeks to create the impression that it is a sponsor or seeks to benefit its trademarks from the publicity attaching to the event.

In the directive, Patel said protected event status means that the event is in the public interest and that the organizers of the event will create opportunities for South African businesses, in particular those from the previously disadvantaged communities.

Patel said that the ‘protected event’ designation will be on the understanding that:

The procurement policy of the organizers shall comply with the public sector procurement principles such as procedural and substantive fairness, equity, transparency, and competitiveness.

The procurement policy of the organizers shall apply constitutional procurement principles, the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition Codes of Good Practice for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B -BBEE) when evaluating suppliers and administrative law principles of fair procedure.

The organizers must submit an impact assessment/report on the British and Irish Lions Rugby Tour on communities in South Africa to the Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition at least six months and not more than 12 months after the termination of the protected event designation.

Government to make the British & Irish Lions tour a protected event
Government to make the British & Irish Lions tour a protected event

The date of termination of the protected event designation is 30 August 2021.

The directive is currently open for public comment and can be read in full below.

Interested persons may submit written comments on the proposed protected event status within 30 calendar days from the date of publication.

British Irish Lions Tour tickets are available on our website at very discounted prices. So fans can book British lions Tickets on www.xchangetickets.com.

Williams Column: All eyes on South Africa will be on the Lions

It promises to be an even bigger showdown than in 2009 when the Springboks were once again the best team in the world when they welcomed the Lions. I have bittersweet memories of that tour, but more of that later. Rugby enthusiasts can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

News from South Africa last week was tremendously encouraging after some of the fatality runners had been predicting that the game might not return for some time, casting doubt on next summer’s tour. But rugby is back on the agenda after being suspended for nearly six months.

Williams Column: All eyes on South Africa will be on the Lions
Williams Column: All eyes on South Africa will be on the Lions

The first steps back will reflect what we had in Wales, with local derbies, and then they will look to follow New Zealand’s lead with a test. They will have to catch up very quickly if they want to be competitive in the Rugby Championship that is scheduled to follow.

But whatever the short-term goals, the main focus will surely be on next year’s Lions tour. That will dominate their minds from now until then, just as it will be a huge focus of attention for players from the four local unions. It was always like this in a season preparing for a Lions tour.

The national season in South Africa will resume on September 26 with a double game at Loftus Versfeld, where the Bulls will face the Sharks and their Lions will face the Stormers. Then comes the Springbok test on October 3: Springbok Green v Springbok Gold.

Williams Column: All eyes on South Africa will be on the Lions
Williams Column: All eyes on South Africa will be on the Lions

While all of this is going on, an interested observer will be Warren Gatland, who has headed back to the Northern Hemisphere to pass check on some possible candidates as the European season reaches its climax alongside the English Premiership.

He will certainly return to Australia if the Springboks can participate in the Rugby Championship. Gats’ preparation is second to none and he will want to see where the Boks are one year after their World Cup triumph.

South Africa

It was in South Africa in 2009 that he first got a taste of life with the Lions as a forward coach. He learned at the feet of the teacher, Ian McGeechan, and has carried forward his love for Lion’s traditions and values.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the 2009 tour possibly saved the Lions from extinction. In the wake of the 2005 tour of New Zealand, which went terribly wrong, the trip to South Africa four years later was the last chance.

Williams Column: All eyes on South Africa will be on the Lions
Williams Column: All eyes on South Africa will be on the Lions

I know we didn’t win the series, but by winning the third and final round in Johannesburg by a record margin, we left the country with our heads held high. More than that, everyone who had seen us couldn’t wait for the Lions to return.

Warren Gatland

Since then, Gats has planned a 2-1 win in Australia and the series tied in New Zealand. Wouldn’t it be great if you could turn it into a third series in charge without a loss?

Going back to that last game in South Africa 11 years ago, it remains one of my best memories in rugby. It had been a difficult tour for me and I was passed over on the first test. I struggled to reach the playing heights of the previous year and became increasingly frustrated.

I got a couple of minutes in the second test, which we should have won, and then I started in the third and final game at Ellis Park. We all went out to enjoy the final game and I finished with two attempts and the man of the match award.

Williams Column: All eyes on South Africa will be on the Lions
Williams Column: All eyes on South Africa will be on the Lions

I felt like I had redeemed myself a bit. More importantly, the character displayed by the team was superb and gave the Lions a true mainstay for the upcoming tour. I just hope the “Class of 2021” remembers how we ended up in 2009.

We are offering British lions rugby tickets so Rugby fans can get British lions rugby tickets through our trusted online ticketing market place. Xchangetickets.com is the most reliable source to book British lions rugby tickets.

KEARNEY LIVED THE DREAM AS HE CALLS TIME ON LEINSTER AND IRELAND CAREER

Two-time British & Irish Lions tourist Rob Kearney says he has lived the dream after confirming the end of his Leinster and Ireland career in an emotional message.

The 34-year-old full-back donned the famous red Lions jersey on the 2009 and 2013 Tours to South Africa and Australia, making eight appearances in total including three Test caps. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

He also won 95 caps and four Six Nations Championship titles with Ireland across a nine-year international career, including two memorable Grand Slams in 2009 and 2018.

KEARNEY LIVED THE DREAM AS HE CALLS TIME ON LEINSTER AND IRELAND CAREER
KEARNEY LIVED THE DREAM AS HE CALLS TIME ON LEINSTER AND IRELAND CAREER

And with Leinster, Kearney won four Champions Cups, a Challenge Cup, and six Guinness PRO14 titles – lifting the trophy with Fergus McFadden when they retained the title this year.

But the 34-year-old has now confirmed the end of his Leinster and Ireland career, expressing his gratitude to fans, teammates, coaches, and his family in a heartfelt message.

He writes on the Leinster website: “Where to begin? Maybe I’ll start at the end. My 219th and final cap against Ulster a few weeks ago in the Aviva Stadium Nearly 15 years to the day from my debut against Ospreys in 2005.

“I hoped it wouldn’t be my last involvement in a Leinster jersey, but the reality is that in sport and professional sport especially, you just never know when you will get a chance again, so you treasure each chance you get in that jersey.

“It wasn’t my last involvement with the team and Ferg and I were granted the unbelievable honor of lifting a trophy on behalf of the 53 players two weeks later.

KEARNEY LIVED THE DREAM AS HE CALLS TIME ON LEINSTER AND IRELAND CAREER
KEARNEY LIVED THE DREAM AS HE CALLS TIME ON LEINSTER AND IRELAND CAREER

“You always want one more as a player. The next one becomes the most important. The next match, the next trophy, the next training session even. That is the process that is the drive within us.

“It wasn’t to be, but I am so very grateful for every run out that I did get in a Leinster and an Ireland jersey. Losing to Saracens brought my time in a Leinster jersey and by extension an Irish jersey to an end.

“I spoke to the players in the dressing room after the game and I spoke about living a dream because that is what I have done.

“I have lived the dream of every five-year-old boy or girl out there that dreams of pulling on a Leinster jersey, an Ireland jersey, a Lions jersey.

“I consider myself very fortunate to have done the greatest thing that I could have done with my life and I have lived the dreams that I first had as a young lad in Dundalk RFC with the minis.

“I also consider myself very fortunate because I have parents that supported and facilitated that dream and still do to this day.”

One of the highlights of Kearney’s career came on the 2009 Tour to South Africa when the full-back scored a try and produced an aerial masterclass in the second Test in Pretoria.

And Kearney also hailed the support he has received from supporters over the years, starting his wish to have finished his time with Leinster and Ireland under different circumstances.

KEARNEY LIVED THE DREAM AS HE CALLS TIME ON LEINSTER AND IRELAND CAREER

He continues: “You never get to write the script, but if I could, it would go as far as a packed RDS or Aviva in front of thousands of Leinster and Irish Rugby supporters where I would have had the opportunity to thank you all.

“The Leinster and Ireland supporters’ role in this journey has been special and running out in front of full stadia is what gives the greatest buzz and we have all missed that over the last few months and you appreciate it all the more now playing in empty arenas.

“I remember when we played away in Toulouse in the European Quarter-Final in 2006. Nobody gave us a chance but we came away with a win and played some unbelievable rugby along the way.

“It was the first time that I could sense the belief in the support as well. That trip home to Dublin and looking into the eyes of the supporters that had made the trip Belief.

“You all felt the same as us. That this club could become a mainstay of European rugby, firepower to be reckoned with and you’ve stayed with us for every step since.

“For Ireland, the sea of green in Chicago and Twickenham on St. Patrick’s Day for our Grand Slam decider is images that will be ingrained in me for life.”

British Irish Lions Tour tickets are available on our website at very discounted prices. So fans can book British lions Tickets on www.xchangetickets.com.

EUROPEAN SHOWS PRESENT AUDITION OPPORTUNITY FOR THE LIONS TOUR 2021

The action kicks off in Bristol under the lights on Friday night when the Bears welcome Bordeaux-Begles at Ashton Gate for a chance to contest the Challenge Cup masterpiece.

A highly successful double Champions Cup title then heads the headlines on Saturday when reigning champions Saracens take on Racing 92 before Exeter Chiefs take on Toulouse. Rugby enthusiasts can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

EUROPEAN SHOWS PRESENT AUDITION OPPORTUNITY FOR THE LIONS TOUR 2021
EUROPEAN SHOWS PRESENT AUDITION OPPORTUNITY FOR THE LIONS TOUR 2021

The Leicester Tigers will close out the Anglo-French drama against Toulon at the Stade Félix Mayol later that day as Steve Borthwick’s men compete for a spot in the Challenge Cup final. And there will be a large contingent of British and Irish Lions, along with those who have ambitions to be on the plane to South Africa next year, participating in all four games.

THE PENULTIMAL DANCE OF THE SARACENES

As the Saracens prepare for a season in the Championship, the Men in Black are treating the defense of their European crown as the last chance for this current team to achieve success. With several players already gone, loaned or retired, and others to follow, the Saracens could look like an entirely different team by the time they return to compete at the top table in Europe.

But after finishing Leinster’s season undefeated the last time, there is still a chance to win the silver medal this year if they can defeat Racing 92 in their semi-final meeting in Paris. Lions like Mako Vunipola, Elliot Daly, Jamie George, and Maro Itoje will certainly help the visitors’ cause, but they will have to keep Scotland’s Finn Russell calm to progress.

EUROPEAN SHOWS PRESENT AUDITION OPPORTUNITY FOR THE LIONS TOUR 2021
EUROPEAN SHOWS PRESENT AUDITION OPPORTUNITY FOR THE LIONS TOUR 2021

“All eyes are on this competition for us this year,” said Daly, a 2017 Lions tourist.

“There are some huge guys in that locker room who won’t be Sarries next year, so we’re doing it for them right now. Hopefully we have two more games”.

BOSSES START NEW FIELDS IN EUROPE

Exeter Chiefs will contest their first Champions Cup semi-final when they take on French giant and four-time European champion Toulouse at Sandy Park. And Rob Baxter will depend on his big-name players coming to the fore for the Devon team as they try to defeat the star-studded visitors to reach the silver masterpiece.

One of the main threats Exeter will have to face is the offensive prowess of South Africa’s World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe, who scored a double in his quarter-final win over Ulster. It’s an enigma that Warren Gatland will also hope to face when the Lions take on the Springboks next year, with the sidestepping master arguably the best winger in world rugby at the moment.

EUROPEAN SHOWS PRESENT AUDITION OPPORTUNITY FOR THE LIONS TOUR 2021
EUROPEAN SHOWS PRESENT AUDITION OPPORTUNITY FOR THE LIONS TOUR 2021

But the Chiefs are not lacking in their own attacking talent thanks to a backline made up of Lions tourists Stuart Hogg and Jack Nowell, along with England international Henry Slade. Hogg and Nowell, in particular, were in great shape when Exeter defeated Northampton Saints last time out and a similar performance wouldn’t do any harm to their 2021 Tour hopes.

TEST CHALLENGE FOR BEARS AND TIGERS

Premiership teams Bristol Bears and Leicester Tigers face a French obstacle on their way to the Challenge Cup final when they face Bordeaux and Toulon, respectively. Pat Lam’s Bears have been one of the fit teams in European rugby since the restart and feature international talents like Lions mainstay Kyle Sinckler and England’s rising star Ben Earl.

Earl was at the heart of Bristol’s resounding 56-17 victory over Dragons in the quarterfinals, scoring two attempts at Ashton Gate, and will expect more of the same against Bordeaux. Meanwhile, the other semi-final will see Leicester travel to France to face Toulon, who will have French captain Charles Ollivon and Italian legend Sergio Parisse in the back row.

EUROPEAN SHOWS PRESENT AUDITION OPPORTUNITY FOR THE LIONS TOUR 2021
EUROPEAN SHOWS PRESENT AUDITION OPPORTUNITY FOR THE LIONS TOUR 2021

The Tigers were given a goodbye to reach this stage after their quarter-finals with Castres were canceled, so 2017 Lions assistant coach Borthwick hopes his players are fresh for their quarter-final competition. Lions duo Tom and Ben Youngs start for the visitors, while England internationals George Ford and Ellis Genge are also in the XV for the club’s biggest game of the season.

We are offering British lions rugby tickets so Rugby fans can get British lions tickets through our trusted online ticketing market place. Xchangetickets.com is the most reliable source to book British and irish lions tour tickets.

Leonard: Lions have to match the Boks physicality

British & Irish Lions President Jason Leonard shares his thoughts on the upcoming South Africa tour in 2021. Rugby enthusiasts can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

What is your best memory of the Lions?

It’s a really strange thing to explain. I am a very proud English. So I know what it meant to me when I put on an England jersey. British and Irish Lions are different. You are the best of all, from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. It is never an easy start to a Lions tour. You have spent the last four years kicking each other and you have to put those differences aside.

Leonard: Lions have to match the Boks physicality
Leonard: Lions have to match the Boks physicality

I will always remember one of the coaches, Sir Ian McGeechan, saying that you leave your nationality at the door. It is not English, Irish or Scottish, it is a British and Irish lion. You don’t sit in small groups. We are all in this together. That really resonated with me.

What is the biggest challenge for a Lions team?

One of the biggest problems is trying to find enough time to get decent training and spend time together. You have to involve like-minded people. If you are adamant, you will most likely not enjoy your Lions tour.

Everything on a Lions tour is about change; there could be an injury and maybe you should play on a Wednesday and Saturday. You have to have people who want to do it well, but also do it well for each other. That is the most important. You may have game winners, but there are also many people on Lions teams who are selected to work for the team.

A fantastic winger will only get the ball if the group is working hard. It depends a lot on other people. That’s what all rugby teams are about, but even more so with the Lions because you’re playing someone you’ve probably never caught or passed a ball to.

Leonard: Lions have to match the Boks physicality
Leonard: Lions have to match the Boks physicality

If you were lucky enough to tour the Lions in the past, it might have been the only time you did. That is also what makes Lions teams unique. From memory, no Lions team that went to New Zealand and then South Africa has been the same. That is why you have to make the most of it. You will never have that opportunity with the same people.

Explain your role as president of the British and Irish Lions for the South African tour

With that position, there’s a lot of work behind the scenes before we even get on a plane or play a little rugby. It’s about making sure we are in a strong position before we go anywhere.

You have another administrative level below that and then you have your coaches, staff and back room people, your list goes on. So it’s quite extensive to be a part of that. A successful president ensures that Warren Gatland, the players, whoever they are, have every opportunity to be the best they can be.

Leonard: Lions have to match the Boks physicality
Leonard: Lions have to match the Boks physicality

That may mean taking away their clerical job, public relations job, or television job so they can go out to train and play. Focus on being the best you can be. We understand that we have contractual obligations on this tour, but coming back to the Lions team, you cannot be inflexible. We want to help people. My role is to help everyone on this tour to be their best.

There will only be eight games on next year’s tour. Does that help or hinder Lions players?

It’s hard trying to fit this into the season every four years. The last tour was 10 matches, so we have lost two for this next tour. It’s an added challenge on top of the already huge challenge of going to South Africa and playing in those stadiums with great support.

It would be nice to have more time, but we understand that it is not always possible. You try to work with people from the UK and Ireland to make sure we have access and the players have the opportunity to meet. Sadly, the days when we played, when you were going on tour and being absent for six months, are now not possible.

Leonard: Lions have to match the Boks physicality
Leonard: Lions have to match the Boks physicality

It is what it is and we have to move on. Would we have liked a couple more games? More likely. But that also presents a different challenge. If this Lions squad were undefeated on this tour, it would still be a great achievement.

We are offering British lions rugby tickets so Rugby fans can get British lions rugby tickets through our trusted online ticketing market place. Xchangetickets.com is the most reliable source to book British lions 2021 tickets.

MONYE: “THE BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS IS THE MOST EXCLUSIVE RUGBY CLUB IN WORLD”

Monye was selected for his first and only Tour the last time the Lions visited South Africa 11 years ago despite having only a handful of matches for England on their behalf at the time. Rugby fans can book Springboks Vs British And Irish Lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

He scored four attempts in three starts in warm-up matches and was rewarded with a spot on the wing for the series-opening tryout against the world champions in Durban. And Monye recalls feeling a whirlwind of emotions as he sat in the room he shared with fellow debutante Jamie Roberts after discovering they had been named in the initial XV.

You’re excited, but he’s completely contained, he explained. I remember when the teams were named and the jerseys handed out, there was a wave of applause and that’s it. There were more disappointed people in the room than jubilant guys who were selected, it’s a great team and obviously only 15 of you can start.

MONYE: "THE BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS IS THE MOST EXCLUSIVE RUGBY CLUB IN WORLD"
MONYE: “THE BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS IS THE MOST EXCLUSIVE RUGBY CLUB IN WORLD”

I think it is important to understand that and have a social conscience that yes, you are happy, but there are many guys who are suffering. I shared a room with Jamie Roberts the night before the opening tryout game and saying you’re like a kid on Christmas Eve doesn’t do it justice.

“You’re very excited, but at the same time, you don’t want to play the game in your head 24 hours before it takes place. You’re just trying to relax and forget about the game. But I remember Jamie and me saying, as we were both in the test debut, that if our careers ended after tomorrow’s game and we got the correct result, we would be happy to retire.”

British & Irish Lions

It was because it was so important, it meant a lot, and you just have to go through the files and watch the videos, see the players who have worn the jersey before you. You are part of that history, part of that legacy, that’s how special it is. The British & Irish Lions are the most exclusive rugby club in the world and you only get one chance once every four years.

“And playing with the best in the world is incredible, what an opportunity.”

MONYE: "THE BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS IS THE MOST EXCLUSIVE RUGBY CLUB IN WORLD"
MONYE: “THE BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS IS THE MOST EXCLUSIVE RUGBY CLUB IN WORLD”

Monye had a lot of competition for his spot, with World Player of the Year Shane Williams, Tommy Bowe, Luke Fitzgerald, and Keith Earls all vying for spots on the wings. But the England and Harlequins man was confident that he had done enough to be selected for the first test after showing his attacking quality in preparation matches.

“I had calm confidence because I felt that my game was good, I was scoring attempts, I was defending well, I was taking into account the things that the coaches wanted me to do, he said. I imagined fitting into his game plan, which I think is vitally important, but you don’t know. If it’s not you, it’s the world player of the year, if it’s not you, it’s Tommy Bowe.”

“You are shattered, but you are surrounded by absolute quality, so it’s a little easier to understand those decisions because you are surrounded by quality.”

Ugo Monye

Monye was in the center of the action in the opening test and came agonizingly close to scoring twice but, following a loss to the Lions, lost his starting place for Game 2 in Pretoria. However, he put that disappointment behind him in the final test, scoring a memorable 70-meter intercepted try in a 28-9 victory, a moment he will never forget.

MONYE: "THE BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS IS THE MOST EXCLUSIVE RUGBY CLUB IN WORLD"
MONYE: “THE BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS IS THE MOST EXCLUSIVE RUGBY CLUB IN WORLD”

“To put the ball down and look up and see the crowd, you can’t completely let go when you’re on the field because you have a job to do,” he said.

You’re automatically thinking, ‘catch the restart,’ or the next inning or the next kick and chase. But my human side would have happily collapsed in a torrent of tears. It meant a lot and it was also a slight redemption for the first test, it was insane. Even that moment was really special because, not the attempt, but the congratulations when Tommy Bowe arrives, Stephen Jones, Rob Kearney, and Riki Flutey arrive.

I’ve seen that moment several times because you take the happiness out of other people’s happiness and you can see how happy they were for me and how happy they were for the team. Riki just wouldn’t let me go because he understood how much he meant to me. They gave me another chance after the first test and I wanted to fix some things.

We are offering South Africa A Vs British And Irish Lions Tickets so Rugby fans can get British lions rugby tickets through our trusted online ticketing market place. Xchangetickets.com is the most reliable source to book British lions rugby tickets.

LIONS WATCH: ITOJE LEADS FROM FRONT & NOWELL WEAVES HIS MAGIC

The action started on Friday night as Bristol Bears brushed aside Dragons in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals with a scintillating display from the hosts at Ashton Gate. Rugby fans can book Springboks Vs British And Irish Lions Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Saracens then produced a stunning display to end Leinster’s undefeated season in a rematch of last season’s Champions Cup final, with the visitors winning 25-17 in Dublin.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh and Scarlets were knocked out by French Top 14 outfits Bordeaux Begles and Toulon, respectively, while Ulster suffered a similar fate against Toulouse. The weekend’s action concluded with an all-English battle at Sandy Park, where Exeter Chiefs stormed into the Champions Cup semi-finals with victory over Northampton Saints.

LIONS WATCH: ITOJE LEADS FROM FRONT & NOWELL WEAVES HIS MAGIC
LIONS WATCH: ITOJE LEADS FROM FRONT & NOWELL WEAVES HIS MAGIC

ITOJE INTENSITY ROCKS LEINSTER

The meeting between reigning champions Saracens and last year’s beaten finalists Leinster at the Aviva Stadium was always marked out as the game of the weekend. And it certainly didn’t fail to deliver as gluttony of British & Irish Lions featured for both teams in the quarter-final showdown, which ended in victory for the clinical visitors.

2017 tourist Maro Itoje was among those who enhanced his reputation, with the second-rower at the heart of Saracens’ outstanding defensive effort against the men in blue. Elliot Daly also impressed with two huge penalties to put the visitors 22-3 ahead at half-time, while Mako Vunipola’s herculean scrummaging and 16 tackles were just as influential.

The Irish province responded after the break with tries from Andrew Porter and Jordan Larmour, with Johnny Sexton converting, but it ultimately proved too little, too late. Sunday’s Champions Cup finale then saw another Lion land a telling blow as Jack Nowell demonstrated his quick feet to beat multiple defenders and score against Northampton Saints.

LIONS WATCH: ITOJE LEADS FROM FRONT & NOWELL WEAVES HIS MAGIC
LIONS WATCH: ITOJE LEADS FROM FRONT & NOWELL WEAVES HIS MAGIC

Nowell’s score just after the restart allowed the hosts to stretch their lead at Sandy Park and despite strong resistance from Saints, Exeter emerged triumphant 38-15 to reach the last four of Europe’s premier competition for the first time in their history.

EARL OF ASHTON GATE

There is already a wealth of options for Warren Gatland to choose from in the back row for the 2021 Tour but it looks like Ben Earl’s name could be added to the list. Earl has made a huge impact for Bristol Bears since joining on loan from Saracens and he was right in the thick of the action again during their thumping win over Dragons.

While two-time Lions tourist Jamie Roberts was making his debut for Dragons, it was Earl who deserved all the headlines for his double in the 56-17 victory at Ashton Gate. The 22-year-old benefitted from a superbly worked move by Semi Radradra and Charles Piutau for his opening score, racing over for Bristol’s second try after Dragons had started brightly.

LIONS WATCH: ITOJE LEADS FROM FRONT & NOWELL WEAVES HIS MAGIC
LIONS WATCH: ITOJE LEADS FROM FRONT & NOWELL WEAVES HIS MAGIC

Radradra then combined with the openside again minutes later before Earl slipped past Jordan Williams with a magnificent sidestep and crossed for his second of the evening.

KOLBE A CLASS ABOVE AGAIN

French teams enjoyed a successful weekend in both European competitions as Racing 92, Bordeaux, Toulouse, and Toulon all secured their safe passage to the last four stages. Finn Russell, another 2017 tourist, pulled the strings expertly for Racing 92 as they overcame fellow Top 14 side, Clermont – including the key pass for Louis Dupichot’s opening try.

Elsewhere, three-time tourist Leigh Halfpenny, who was player of the series in 2013, showed his class despite Scarlets slipping to a narrow 11-6 defeat to Toulon. Halfpenny kicked a couple of penalties and denied a certain try with a last-ditch tackle but Italian giant Sergio Parisse’s try ultimately proved the difference in France.

LIONS WATCH: ITOJE LEADS FROM FRONT & NOWELL WEAVES HIS MAGIC
LIONS WATCH: ITOJE LEADS FROM FRONT & NOWELL WEAVES HIS MAGIC

But it was Cheslin Kolbe’s performance for Toulouse that will have drawn the attention of Lions fans, with the South African winger scoring another brace in his side’s 36-8 win over Ulster.

We are offering South Africa A Vs British And Irish Lions Tickets so Rugby fans can get British lions rugby tickets through our trusted online ticketing market place. Xchangetickets.com is the most reliable source to book British lions rugby tickets.

Page 3 of 65

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén