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British and Irish Lions jersey revealed

The British & Irish Lions jersey for the 2021 tour of South Africa has been unveiled with the design celebrating the journey a player must undergo to reach the pinnacle of the games

Designed and manufactured by the Lions’ official apparel sponsor, Canterbury, the new Pro jersey was unveiled on Thursday and will go on sale in South Africa on Friday.

British and Irish Lions jersey revealed
British and Irish Lions jersey revealed

With the Lions squad recognized as being made up of the best players, the iconic red jersey’s new design features a striking graphic on the shoulders, comprising a multitude of individual pieces that come together to form the image of a lion. Symbolizing the origins of the players and those who have helped them to reach the pinnacle of the game, each piece pays homage to every teammate, club coach, family member, and friend who helped them along the way.

Canterbury confirmed that the design celebrates the journey a player must undergo to reach the very top of the game, as well as those who have helped them get there.

Commenting on the jersey, Lions coach Warren Gatland said: ‘The jersey looks awesome and I think Lions supporters, as well as the players, are going to love it, too. Canterbury, as we have become accustomed to, has done a great job yet again.

British and Irish Lions jersey revealed
British and Irish Lions jersey revealed

‘Some of the best experiences I’ve had as a Lions coach have been looking out across a stadium ahead of a match and seeing a “Sea of Red” Lions jerseys. Entire stands turned red; it’s an incredible thing to witness and creates an atmosphere that is truly unique to the Lions.’

The Pro jersey is the Lions’ most sustainable ever, with the main body made up of 100% recycled polyester and is available in men’s, women’s, and junior sizes, allowing supporters to be part of the pride and show their support.

Canterbury has also launched the largest-ever range of Lions’ training and off-field supporter wear, with a total of 112 items. This includes three times as many women’s products than previously and its biggest-ever junior range.

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British Lions could tour Japan in wake of sides meeting at Murrayfield

The British and Irish Lions have opened the entryway for a future visit through Japan after reporting just the third home coordinate in their famous history against the Brave Blossoms the following summer.

Warren Gatland’s side will confront Japan at Murrayfield on 26 June the very day as the Premiership last and keeping in mind that they will do as such with no England players, the apparatus will fill in as a key aspect of the Lions’ arrangements before confronting the titleholders.

British Lions could tour Japan in wake of sides meeting at Murrayfield
British Lions could tour Japan in wake of sides meeting at Murrayfield

The outing to South Africa will be the first since the San Francisco understanding in 2017 when it was chosen by the game’s powerbrokers that visits would be sliced to eight matches. That gathering was disputable because the Lions were not appropriately spoken to and keeping in mind that the Murrayfield coordinate expands the number of installations to nine, the Premiership clubs’ refusal to make any of their player’s accessible shows further how the Lions are getting progressively minimized.

Their put on the worldwide timetable is, at any rate, ensured up to 2032, as indicated by the San Francisco arrangement; however, the worldwide schedule is easily proven wrong with various associations anxious to move the current summer window to October. Should that occur, a visit through Japan which solidified itself as rugby’s greatest new transmission market during a year ago’s World Cup could draw nearer to turning out to be a reality.

The Lions’ overseeing chief, Ben Calveley, stated: “We’re building up a relationship here with Japan; this is the first occasion when that the Lions has played against Japan and it will be a memorable Test. My view is that the Lions can offer a horrendous part to the development of the worldwide game and we ought to consider how best it can do that.

“I will keep on speaking to the Lions admirably well inside those worldwide arrangements when they occur, while the Lions might not have been straightforwardly spoken to in the room beforehand, we are presently legitimately spoken to and I make all the focuses that I require to make as many of those worldwide season exchanges happen.”

British Lions could tour Japan in wake of sides meeting at Murrayfield

Calveley likewise uncovered that Gatland, who has spent the previous month going to a large group of club matches, will defer naming his associate mentors until the New Year yet affirmed conversations had opened with the home associations.

Four years prior, Gatland needed Gregor Townsend, who had quite recently been delegated Scotland’s lead trainer, to be important for his reserved alcove staff however he was unable to make sure about his delivery. Calveley, however, is hopeful no such issues will happen this time. The Ireland lead trainer, Andy Farrell, has been important for the instructing group for as far back as two visits, and keeping in mind that he as of late said he has not been drawn nearer by Gatland he didn’t preclude a third Lions trip.

Calveley likewise said club mentors will likewise be thought of, raising the possibility of the Crusaders’ Scott Robertson, who has communicated an intrigue, Stuart Lancaster from Leinster or Exeter’s Rob Baxter being included.

Calveley stated: “What Warren and I have been doing is getting round the lead trainers and the CEOs from every one of the four associations and I can affirm they’re all amazingly strong, as you would anticipate that they should be because they comprehend the estimation of the Lions.

British Lions could tour Japan in wake of sides meeting at Murrayfield

“I don’t believe there’s any presumption the mentors need to originate from inside the association builds, they could emerge out of a club climate.

“We’re open we’re keen on designating mentors that can assist us with winning in South Africa and that are the principal measures. Anybody that can assist us with winning these Test matches would be intriguing to Warren and eventually, it’s his call.”

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RDA selected for media rights distribution of the British lions tour to South Africa

Lions Tour to South Africa, the joint venture between the British & Irish Lions and SA Rugby, has appointed RDA as its media rights distribution agency for the Tour to South Africa in 2021.

The agreement, which covers Europe excluding UK & Ireland, and France, Canada, Japan, SE Asia, Pacific Islands, MENA, and Inflight/Cruise, is the first-ever appointment of an agency to distribute media rights on behalf of the Lions.

Scheduled for July and August next year, the greatest rugby Tour of all kicks off with five matches against South Africa’s leading provincial and invitational sides, before the Lions take on reigning world champions, the Springboks, for three epic Test matches played in Johannesburg 2 and Cape Town.

RDA selected for media rights distribution of the British lions tour to South Africa
RDA selected for media rights distribution of the British lions tour to South Africa

The Lions will additionally play a historic Test match against Japan in Edinburgh on 26th June 2021, and the Springboks will play two warm-up Test matches, all included in the Lions media rights package.

Ben Calveley, British & Irish Lions Managing Director, commented: “We are very pleased to be partnering with RDA for our international media rights distribution. RDA’s proven track record in rights sales will help advance our strategic objective of increasing our global coverage for the Tour, so more fans than ever before can enjoy watching the action.”

Richard Dennis, RDA CEO, said: “We’re honored to be working with the British & Irish Lions, one of the world’s greatest sports brands. The Lions Tour to South Africa, and the historic match against Japan, will be global media events and we look forward to playing our role in bringing these to a worldwide audience.”

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British and Irish lions to play japan in Edinburgh before Lions tour 2021

The British & Irish Lions will host Japan at BT Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday 26 June 2021 for the Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup.

The first-ever clash between the world’s greatest touring side and the Brave Blossoms will raise the curtain for the Lions’ eagerly awaited Tour to South Africa, which culminates in a three-Test series against Rugby World Cup champions, the Springboks.

Tickets for the historic fixture go on pre-sale on Tuesday 3 November; fans can book Lions vs Japan Tickets on our website xchanhgetickets.com.

British and Irish lions to play japan in Edinburgh before Lions tour 2021
British and Irish lions to play japan in Edinburgh before Lions tour 2021

Lions head coach Warren Gatland believes the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-finalists will provide a stern test for his squad before they depart for South Africa.

“We saw Japan play some excellent rugby during the World Cup and they will come to Edinburgh fully-motivated to win,” said Gatland.

“They are a talented side who play high-tempo rugby, so it’ll be a good challenge for us ahead of the Tour, and a chance for the matchday squad to put their hands up for Test selection.”

Lions managing director Ben Calveley added: “One of our objectives is to give Warren and the playing squad as much meaningful preparation as possible before departing on Tour, so we are delighted to have agreed on this fixture.

“A Lions Test is one of the most iconic events in world sport, but a huge number of fans from the home nations never get the chance to see one live. The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup match will allow even more supporters to be part of the next chapter in Lions history.

British and Irish lions to play japan in Edinburgh before Lions tour 2021

“It will be an ‘I was there’ moment, against an entertaining and highly-respected opposition.”

​Japan head coach Jamie Joseph is also relishing the prospect of the fixture: “We are very much looking forward to playing a Test against the Lions next year.

“It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players, and we can’t wait for it to come.”

Scottish Rugby’s 67,000-seater stadium in Edinburgh will host the first Lions Test match on ‘home’ soil since playing against Argentina in Cardiff in 2005 and Mark Dodson, chief executive of Scottish Rugby and Lions board director, believes the iconic ground will provide an ideal backdrop for the Test.

“The deep connection Scotland enjoys with the British & Irish Lions has helped to shape the rich history of the team with players, coaches, and support staff all contributing to the success of the side down the years,” said Dodson.

The Lions’ lead partner, Vodafone, who announced their partnership earlier in the year, are excited to be supporting the fixture. Max Taylor, commercial director, Vodafone UK said, “We are proud to be part of this incredible rugby moment and to be able to allow home fans to experience the full force of the Lions on UK soil.”

British and Irish lions to play japan in Edinburgh before Lions tour 2021

The Lions’ eight-game tour to South Africa kicks off on Saturday 3 July 2021 when they play Vodacom Super Rugby’s DHL Stormers in Cape Town. Three weeks later the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg will host the first Test a venue that previously hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final.

The second Test follows on Saturday 31 July at the Cape Town Stadium the first Lions Test in the Mother City since 1997 before the British and Irish tourists return to Gauteng for the final Test on Saturday 7 August at Emirates Airline Park, the venue of the 1995 Rugby World Cup final.

The Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891. In that time, the Lions have won four-Test series, lost eight with one drawn. Their overall record against the Springboks is played 46, won 17, lost 23, and drawn six.

British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC

Buccaneers RFC is more than just a rugby club, it’s a way a life for the people of Athlone. 

Located on the River Shannon, the town in the heart of Ireland’s midlands is inextricably intertwined with the club which has seen generations of families come through its ranks. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

Among the players the club has fostered over the years is Ireland international and British & Irish Lions tourist Robbie Henshaw, who became Lion No.824 in New Zealand in 2017. 

Like so many at Buccaneers, Henshaw’s father Tony and uncle David had also played for the club before him – with the latter going on to represent Connacht during the 1990s. 

British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC
British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC

In fact, the importance of family permeates almost every aspect of Buccaneers and it’s the reason why club president Eamon Collins believes rugby runs through the veins in Athlone. 

“Everybody that comes to the club enjoys playing, there is a great sense of community in the club, they come in at under six and they never seem to leave because they like it so much,” he said. 

“There’s great teamwork, discipline, enjoyment and sportsmanship around the place and there’s a real sense of family – that’s what is so great about the club. 

“This is very true of the Henshaws. The Henshaws have been in the club, their father and uncles have played at the club and they have done an awful lot at the club since they started playing. 

“Robbie is still very involved, he’s a great ambassador for our club and we’re very proud of him. Buccaneers is at the heart of Athlone and rugby is everything in Athlone. 

“Everyone wants to play, everyone wants to be involved and the big problem we have is trying to facilitate all these young players as they all want to become the next Robbie Henshaw and Jack Carty. 

“People come and join the club as underage players and when their playing career finishes, they often continue with the club as administrators, coaches, referees and whatever else. 

“It very much passes through the generations. If you look back through the history of the club, it goes from generation to generation like it does with the Henshaws.” 

The club’s name originates from the Shannon Buccaneers, which was founded by Diarmuid Murtagh in the 1930s and fielded players such as 1938 Lions captain Sammy Walker. 

But after World War Two forced the club to fold and be disbanded, it wasn’t until the formation of Athlone Rugby Football Club in 1951 that rugby was revived in the town. 

More recently, in the 1993/94 season, Athlone and Ballinasloe amalgamated to compete in the All-Ireland League before eventually changing their name to Buccaneers RFC. 

British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC

Leo Galvin was one of the people who was instrumental in the alliance with Ballinasloe, which ended in 2005/06, and he was the first Athlone clubman to play senior rugby for Ireland. 

And with Jack Carty and Henshaw since following in the footsteps of Galvin, Buccaneers media officer Michael Silke believes their rise through the ranks has inspired the next generation. 

“We have supplied a number of players to Connacht and a number of lads were in the Connacht squad, including Jack Carty and Robbie Henshaw, when they won the PRO12 title in 2016,” he said.

“Athlone is a garrison town and garrison towns are traditionally soccer towns. We have a lot of competition from Gaelic soccer as we have six very good GAA clubs within five miles. 

“There’s lots of competition for players so the fact that young lads started coming through and wearing the green of Ireland and Robbie and Jack played senior rugby for Ireland was inspiring. 

“We have around 400 kids now at the club, many more than when I first got involved with the club, and we have 25 teams in total from adults and the Under-20s down to the minis. 

“There was great excitement around the place and pride when Robbie was selected for the Lions in 2017. To get players coming through and playing for Ireland U20s was a great achievement. 

“But when you have guys like Robbie making the senior Ireland squad and then being included in the last British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand, it was incredible for the club.” 

Buccaneers have enjoyed plenty of success on the field themselves over the years, winning the Connacht Senior League 12 times and the Connacht Senior Cup on eight occasions. 

Among those currently representing the club is first team captain Evan Galvin, who like Henshaw before him, was introduced to Buccaneers through his family’s long association with the club. 

British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC

And Galvin, the nephew of Leo, hopes the example set by Lions tourist Henshaw can keep the conveyer belt of youngsters coming through the ranks at Buccaneers for years to come. 

“There is definitely a family feel to the club. Young kids come down and play and if they enjoy it, they stick at it. There’s also a core volunteer group of parents who support,” he said. 

“It’s great for the club that Robbie and Jack have gone on and represented Ireland. There are lads in the past that have done so too and it shows there’s a good love for the game here. 

“There is development in the Midlands of Ireland, with players going on to represent the club and the province and then the country and the Lions. The club is very proud of the lads. 

“They always give their time to come down and help out with underage sessions. It inspires young lads to play. If you’re a young kid and you see someone like that it’s great. 

“There is a lot of sports that the lads can play at an early age so it’s important these young lads who play rugby are inspired to keep playing and stick at it, be the next Robbie Henshaw. 

“If they can be inspired to keep playing from the younger ages groups through to the first team, that’s a pathway we’ve show is there and it’s important to inspire that next generation.” 

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British Irish lions tour: Stars old and new lead Exeter to European glory

Exeter Chiefs are celebrating a first Champions Cup success after overcoming Racing 92 in a thrilling final where plenty of players with British & Irish Lions ambitions put on a show. . Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

A topsy-turvy finale capped a most unique of European seasons in enthralling fashion with both sides throwing everything at the other.

Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds, Harry Williams and Henry Slade all dotted down for the English side as they held on with just 14 men for the final ten minutes to overcome the French outfit 31-27.

British Irish lions tour: Stars old and new lead Exeter to European glory
British Irish lions tour: Stars old and new lead Exeter to European glory

In a record-breaking match, which saw the most tries ever in a Champions Cup final, 2013 Lion Simon Zebo became the fourth player to record a double in the final while Juan Imhoff and Camille Chat also crossed the whitewash.

Exeter’s Simmonds brothers Sam and Joe both starred with the young duo showcasing their varied skillset.

Both will hope to have impressed Warren Gatland with next year’s Lions squad in mind after serving as the backbone of a potentially double winning Chiefs side this campaign.

Fly-half Joe was pinpoint from the tee to earn the man of the match award while No.8 Sam showed just what an asset he is in both attack and defence as he scored Exeter’s second try.

It was Cowan-Dickie who first dotted down after an incredible start from Exeter, who piled huge pressure on their French opponents.

The hooker has enjoyed a brilliant campaign for the Chiefs, having been named in the Premiership’s Dream Team of the season, and he continued in that rich vein of form as the English side kicked off the content in a ferocious intensity.

Cowan-Dickie could very well be playing himself into Lions contention next summer and he was at it again as Exeter scored their second try, initiating the tap carry that helped Simmonds cross the whitewash.

And he also had a hand in his side’s third try on the stroke of half-time as Williams sent Exeter into the half-time break with a 21-12 lead.

British Irish lions tour: Stars old and new lead Exeter to European glory

2017 tourist Finn Russell was also highly influential for Racing 92, even if his side lost, as the fly-half pulled the strings.

Firstly Russell, who made a Lions appearance off the bench against Hurricanes, fired through a picture-perfect pass for Zebo’s first try before he was heavily involved in the Irishman’s second too.

But an error from the Scottish No.10 gave Exeter their fourth try as Jack Nowell intercepted before releasing Slade to score.

Nowell, who starred on the 2017 Tour to New Zealand, will hope to be on the plane to South Africa in 2021 after an impressive campaign and did his chances no harm here.

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British Irish lions tour: Bryan Habana reflects on 2009 Lions series

Bryan Habana has singled out a particular play during the 2009 Test series between the Springboks and British & Irish Lions as one of the best moments in his career. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

South Africa won the first two Tests and the Lions clinched the third match for a 2-1 series scoreline in favour of the hosts.

The Boks dominated the first game but had to rally late in the second match to mount a comeback having trailed by 11 points with 20 minutes left.

British Irish lions tour: Habana reflects on 2009 Lions series
British Irish lions tour: Habana reflects on 2009 Lions series

Habana and centre Jaque Fourie scored late tries, while Morne Steyn stepped up to slot the conversions and two penalties to clinch the win and with that the series.

Reflecting on that riveting Test at Loftus 12 years ago, the legendary Bok pinpoints Fourie’s stunning try as one of the best he has ever seen.

“What that game did give us was one of the best tries I’ve ever seen on a rugby field from Jaque Fourie,” Habana told former teammate Jean de Villiers during a Laureus Sport for Good Foundation webinar.

“Mine his try was a set move that we practised on the training park for two or three years before that, but that finish from Jaque Fourie and the way it happened, to give Morne that final opportunity to make that kick to win it was incredible.”

“As a rugby player, you always want to contribute. It was a great memory and a pretty spectacular moment for all of us involved. The party in the Monte Casino the following weekend summed up what a great moment it was.

“It’s crazy to think that it’s been 12 years already. The uniqueness of a Lions series as a South African, Australian or New Zealander, that only happens once every 12 years.

“There are some Test centurions that never get an opportunity to play against the Lions. The passion, pride, camaraderie and uniqueness of it is something that many players would give any waking moment to be a part of.

British Irish lions tour: Habana reflects on 2009 Lions series
British Irish lions tour: Habana reflects on 2009 Lions series

“We were fortunate that we had that success in 2007 and saw it as the majority of us staying together with the hope of doing something special in 2009, given that we had lost the series in 1997.”

‘It was a really important goal, short term, that I had written down. 2009 was special and it played a crucial part in my planning and I’m grateful to be part of an occasion that went down in history.’

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British Irish Lions Tour: Lions sew up Fanatics retail partnership for South Africa tour

The British and Irish Lions touring rugby union side have announced a partnership with Fanatics, giving fans access to an expanded range of merchandise produced for the team’s 2021 tour of South Africa. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

The exclusive global ecommerce agreement will provide supporters with the widest array of products ever created for a Lions tour, while also expanding Fanatics’ rugby portfolio. The sports apparel giant already oversees England Rugby’s retail and online stores.

British Irish Lions Tour: Lions sew up Fanatics retail partnership for South Africa tour
British Irish Lions Tour: Lions sew up Fanatics retail partnership for South Africa tour

The Lions merchandise will be available at the team’s new online store from 15th October.

“We are excited to be able to offer Lions supporters an extensive range of new products that they can wear with pride when supporting the team,” said Ben Calveley, the British and Irish Lions’ managing director.

“The new store will become the online destination to purchase Lions merchandise including the new replica shirt, as well as other Canterbury apparel and Hackett products when they come on the market later this year.”

2021 Lions tour ‘not viable’ if fans unable to travel, warns SA Rugby CEO

Zohar Ravid, Fanatics’ international general manager, added: “The Lions are one of the most iconic teams in global sport and it is an honor to be partnering with them for the 2021 tour to South Africa.

“In partnering with Fanatics, the Lions will gain access to cutting edge e-commerce systems and industry-leading technology. This will provide rapid navigation for fans across online and mobile sites meaning larger, hi-resolution product displays, frictionless checkout, faster website performance, and the quickest access to new product offerings.”

Fanatics reportedly raised a further US$350 million in August as part of a Series E funding round that saw the company’s valuation soar from US$4.5 billion to US$6.2 billion.

British Irish Lions Tour: Lions sew up Fanatics retail partnership for South Africa tour

The Lions, meanwhile, will be hoping that Fanatics’ global reach can help boost their commercial income. In July, the touring side struck a deal with Vodafone that made the telecommunications giant their lead partner for next summer’s tour.

That tie-up came shortly after the Lions teamed up with South Africa Rugby (SAR) to combine their commercial offering, enabling broadcasters, partners, and licensees the chance to fully leverage and activate around a new centralized program. 

Despite the commercial drive, there are still concerns over whether the 2021 series will go ahead amid Covid-19 restrictions. In August, SAR chief executive Jurie Roux warned that the absence of supporters would make the tour, which is due to start on 3rd July, commercially unviable.

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British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg and Russell go head-to-head for European glory

All eyes will be on the battle for European supremacy on Saturday afternoon when Exeter Chiefs and Racing 92 meet in the final of the Heineken Champions Cup at Ashton Gate. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

The silverware showpiece will be the second of two finals taking place this weekend, with Bristol Bears travelling to France to take on Toulon in the European Challenge Cup on Friday night.

British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg and Russell go head-to-head for European glory
British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg and Russell go head-to-head for European glory

But it is the meeting of Chiefs and Racing that has been given headline billing as two of Scotland’s best players – both British & Irish Lions – come face-to-face on club rugby’s biggest stage.

Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell have been integral to their team’s hopes this season, with both men recognized with a place on the five-man shortlist for European Player of the Year.

And they will now look to put their relationship as international teammates to one side as they attempt to outfox each other and guide their respective teams to a famous victory in Bristol.

The European final also presents a prime opportunity to show Warren Gatland why they deserve a place on the plane to South Africa for next year’s highly-anticipated Lions Tour.

REVISITING AGE-GROUP RIVALRY

Hogg and Russell have been international colleagues for the best part of a decade and have 125 caps between them – but Saturday will not be the first time they’ve come head-to-head.

The encounter at Ashton Gate will see the duo take to the pitch on opposing teams for the first time since they were teenagers playing age-group rugby in Scotland.

“We must have been 12 or 13 years old,” said 2017 Lions tourist and Racing 92 fly-half Russell. “The time I remember is playing against each other in the Gala sevens. 

“Hoggy and Rory Sutherland were playing for Hawick and I was playing for Stirling County. That’s the last time I remember playing Hoggy.”

Since then Hogg and Russell have played together for Glasgow Warriors and Scotland, becoming well-accustomed to each other’s game – something both will attempt to use to their benefit.

British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg and Russell go head-to-head for European glory
British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg and Russell go head-to-head for European glory

“When I played against Stuart – I was chatting to him the other day – I was saying it was probably me doing a lot of the kicking down towards him,” said Russell.

“I know what attacking threats he has got and maybe we can target him in defence or in the air. It’s good knowing him but at the same time it’s also the other way round.

“He knows how I like to play and he knows what I might look for and he might be able to counter that. Maybe I’ll play with my left foot this weekend!”

PRODUCING THE UNEXPECTED

One of the main reasons the duel between Hogg and Russell is being hyped so much is because both players are mavericks capable of pulling a rabbit out of a hat for their teams.

You only have to look at their European semi-finals to see their ability to change the game.

Russell’s vision against defending champions Saracens proved decisive for Racing 92 in the last four, linking up with Virimi Vakatawa to create the match-winning try for Juan Imhoff.

Meanwhile, Hogg’s kicking from deep pinned Toulouse back in Exeter’s semi-final while he was also as slippery as a bag of eels, slaloming through broken field on multiple occasions.

British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg and Russell go head-to-head for European glory

While the Scotland skipper’s running ability often gets overlooked due to Chiefs’ relentless forward press, Hogg’s quick feet often provide the platform – and territory – for Exeter’s success.

But the two-time Lions tourist knows his side faces their toughest challenge yet against Racing 92 – beaten finalists in 2016 and 2018 – and, in particular, his international teammate Russell.

“Finn is an absolutely unbelievable talent and I think at this minute he is one of the best 10s in the world,” Hogg said. “I know how Finn plays; I know that he’s a world-class talent. 

“I think he has got the ability to change the game in a heartbeat. For me, he is one of the most naturally-gifted rugby players I’ve ever come across in my career.”

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British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg stars for chiefs as Roberts rolls back the years

A huge weekend of domestic rugby was dominated by the Premiership semi-finals as four teams were whittled down to two ahead of the showpiece final at Twickenham. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

A huge weekend of domestic rugby was dominated by the Premiership semi-finals as four teams were whittled down to two ahead of the showpiece final at Twickenham.

Exeter Chiefs and Wasps will contest for the grand prize on October 24 after overcoming Bath Rugby and Bristol Bears, respectively, to secure a visit to England Rugby HQ.

British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg stars for chiefs as Roberts rolls back the years
British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg stars for chiefs as Roberts rolls back the years

Unsurprisingly, all four teams were packed with international quality, as well as several British & Irish Lions, including those with ambitions of making the 2021 Tour to South Africa.

Meanwhile, the second round of Guinness PRO14 action also saw one two-time Lions tourist produce a match-winning display to get his team off the mark in the competition.

And for those who missed any of the weekend’s action-packed drama, here’s the lowdown on the players who may have caught Warren Gotland’s eye with their performance.

HOGG SCORES FOR CLINICAL CHIEFS

Exeter Chiefs remain on course for a domestic and European double after defeating West Country rivals Bath Rugby in their bruising Premiership Rugby semi-final at Sandy Park.

The visitors included three Lions in their starting line-up as Anthony Watson, Jonathan Jospeh and Taulupe Faletau looked to guide Bath to a first Premiership final since 2014/15.

But tries from Jonny Hill and Luke Cowan-Dickie put the Devonians 14-6 ahead at the break, with Wales fly-half Rhys Priest land keeping Bath in touch with a couple of penalties.

And two-time tourist Stuart Hogg, who had already played a key role in Cowan-Dickie’s try with a break deep into Bath territory, then provided the decisive moment after the interval.

The Scotland captain’s tactical kicking kept Bath pinned back and gave him the platform to score Chiefs’ third try – and his sixth for the club – after fine support play by Joe Simmonds.

Further tries from Hill and Ollie Devoto ensured the result was no longer in doubt as Exeter booked their place in the Premiership Rugby showpiece for a fifth consecutive year.

British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg stars for chiefs as Roberts rolls back the years
British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg stars for chiefs as Roberts rolls back the years

WILLIS SHINES AGAIN FOR WASPS

Eddie Jones can expect more calls for Jack Willis to start for England this autumn after the Wasps back-rower excelled again to guide his side to victory over Bristol Bears in Coventry.

Willis was awarded man of the match for his outstanding display at the Ricoh Arena, where the hosts ran in five tries to win 47-24 and reach their first Premiership final since 2017.

Tries from Malakai Fekitoa and Willis, plus three penalties from Jimmy Gopperth, gave the hosts a 23-5 advantage at the half-time break with Luke Morahan responding for Bristol.

Bristol closed the gap with a Harry Thacker try after the restart but Wasps took the game by the scruff of the neck with three more tries from Dan Robson, Zach Kibirige, and Matteo Minozzi.

And while Harry Randall and Max Malins crossed to make the scoreboard look better for the visitors, there were no stopping Wasps from storming into the Twickenham showpiece.

Willis’ work at the breakdown was integral to the hosts’ success, while he also held up Callum Sheedy when he crossed the try line, ensuring the 23-year-old stole all the headlines once again.

ROBERTS ROLLS BACK THE YEARS

Two-time Lions tourist Jamie Roberts rose to the occasion on his home debut for Dragons as the center’s man-of-the-match display carried the Welsh region to a 26-18 win against Zebre.

British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg stars for chiefs as Roberts rolls back the years
British Irish Lions Tour: Hogg stars for chiefs as Roberts rolls back the years

Roberts, who was Lions Player of the Series on the 2009 Tour, was at his rampaging best against the Italian outfit, playing a key role in two tries and scoring one himself in Newport.

Elsewhere, Warren Gatland was watching on as Ulster secured their second Guinness PRO14 win of the season despite captain Iain Henderson being shown a late red card against Ospreys.

Tries from Jacob Stockdale, Marcell Coetzee, and John Cooney, who contributed 14 points in total, helped the Irish province to a 24-12 success against the Welsh side at the Liberty Stadium.

Lion’s tourists Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, and Rhys Webb were all in action for the hosts under Gatland’s gaze but they were unable to prevent Ospreys from slipping to defeat.

Meanwhile, James Lowe scored a try as Leinster beat Benetton 37-25 while CJ Stander crossed as Munster edged out Edinburgh and Cardiff Blues made it two wins from two as they defeated Connacht 29-7 at Rodney Parade.

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.

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