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By ARU Media Unit
Australian Rugby Union today unveiled the official logo, ticket prices for all nine matches, and the on-sale dates for next year’s long-awaited Tour by the British & Irish Lions.
Making just their third visit to Australia in 24 years, and their first since 2001, the Lions will take on the Qantas Wallabies in three Tests, the five Australian Super Rugby franchises and a combined NSW-Queensland Country team during the visit next June-July.
Drawn from the best players in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the Lions are one of sport’s most celebrated international teams and are expected to have the support of up to 40,000 travelling British and Irish Rugby fans.
Tickets for the tour will go on general public sale in February – four months before the tour – while members of Australia’s Super Rugby clubs will have pre-purchase opportunities to matches against their team from next month.
Test tickets will be priced from $95 for adults while the remaining six tour matches will have adult entry prices positioned from $15 to $30.
As ARU unveiled the Tour logo – a stylised head of a Lion in the shape of Australia – the man who captained the last Wallabies team in a series against the finest from England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland said the magnitude of next year’s series could not be under estimated.
Test legend John Eales said the tour – 12 Years in the Making – was the biggest event to hit Australian shores since the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
“The importance of a Lions Tour, number one, is because of its scarcity,” said Eales.
“A lot of players go through their long careers and play a lot of Test matches and they don’t have the opportunity to play against the British & Irish Lions.
“Two years before I started in Test Rugby there was a series in 1989. In my last season of Test Rugby the British & Irish Lions were back in Australia.
“I felt very fortunate to have had the chance to play them.
“It was motivation at the start for me and at the end, but for very different reasons.”
The most capped Test player in Rugby history, former Wallabies captain George Gregan, echoed Eales’ sentiments about the magnitude of the British & Irish Lions Tour.
“You get players knocking lumps out of each other from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and then all of a sudden in a short period they come together and play as one,” Gregan said.
“The thing which binds them and brings them together is that Lions jersey. It’s got a rich history and they get together really quickly and they work really hard for each other.
“The thing that unites them is that Red jumper, they play for it and history shows that.
“The calibre of this team which is going to come out here next year is going to be fantastic and it’s going to set up an epic series.”
Former Wallabies fullback Matt Burke, who also played in the 2001 Wallabies side alongside Eales and Gregan, said it was the epitome of a Northern Hemisphere player’s career to win a Lions cap.
“It just means so much to those guys if they can get chosen on a Lions Tour, there’s just plenty for those guys to play for,” Burke said.
“If they can represent the Lions it just puts them on another level, especially when you look back at history and the names who have played in the Red jumper.
“I guess the closest we would get would be if you were to combine an Australian, New Zealand and South African team. That would be the next pinnacle for Southern Hemisphere Rugby players.”
Australia won the 2001 series two Tests to one, after dropping the first game in Brisbane.
Twelve years earlier, the Lions triumphed two Tests to one. Ironically, they also lost the first of the three Tests.
Never playing at home, and only assembling for overseas visits, the Lions travel to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa on a rotational basis every four years and take with them a passionate supporter base.
Tickets to the 2013 Lions Tour to Australia will go on-sale to the public at 9:00am on Monday 18 February 2013 for the three Test and six tour matches.
ARU Managing Director and CEO, John O’Neill AO, said the Tour would be a massive occasion for Australian Rugby and provide a significant economic impact to the national economy due to the influx of international supporters.
“The British & Irish Lions are steeped in history and when they come to Australia next year they will do so keen to reverse the result of their last outing in 2001,” Mr O’Neill said.
“Lions Tours are synonymous for creating history and the 2001 series was certainly filled with ‘where were you when it happened’ moments.
“The Lions have had 12-years to ponder ‘what if’ and next year they will come to these shores ready to make amends.
“The stage is certainly set for the biggest sporting contests to be played out in Australia next year.”
Test ticket prices have been set at the same levels for all three showdowns between the Qantas Wallabies and the Lions in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Adults’ prices start at $95 for a Bronze category ticket, moving to $175 for Silver, $235 for Gold and $295 for Platinum.
• 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter final tickets in New Zealand ranged from $150 to $380;
• 2013 AFL grand final tickets will be priced from $176.50 to $390;
• 2003 Rugby World Cup quarter final tickets in Australia were priced from $95 to $295; and
• 2005 Lions Tour Test tickets in New Zealand were priced from $80 for some matches and up to $300 for the three Tests between the All Blacks and the Lions.
Meantime, the non-Test tour matches in 2013 will start at just $15 for a Bronze category ticket to the Combined Country game against the Lions in Newcastle.
Best seats in the house will range from $40 for the Combined Country match to $75 for the Western Force’s clash with the Lions in Perth.
Mr O’Neill said Test ticket prices reflected the magnitude of the once in 12 years series while the other tour matches carried price options consistent with what fans were used to paying to see their favourite Super Rugby teams in action.
“The Test ticket prices we are announcing reflect not just the scarcity of the tour but also its magnitude,” Mr O’Neill said.
“They are comparable to the prices we set 10 years ago for the 2003 Rugby World Cup Quarter Finals in Australia.
“We believe these Tests are certainly deserving of equal status. This will be the biggest Rugby event on Australian soil since that Rugby World Cup.
“At the same time there is some wonderful value around the prices for the non-Test tour matches.”
The British & Irish Lions will play their first match in Australia against the Western Force at Patersons Stadium in Perth on Wednesday 5 June.
Gwyn Dolphin, Executive Director of Eventscorp, the Western Australian Government's events agency, said it was an honour for Perth to be the first Australian city to host the legendary British & Irish Lions during their 2013 tour.
"Eventscorp is proud to support the Western Force versus the British & Irish Lions match as part of our three year deal with Australian Rugby Union,” Ms Dolphin said.
“The deal also delivers Perth the Wallabies Test against the Springboks on September 8, 2012 and then again in 2014.
“The Wallabies will also play Argentina in Perth next year under the deal.”
The second stop on the Lions schedule will be Brisbane where they’ll take on the Reds on Saturday 8 June in the first of two matches in Queensland. They will line up for the first Test series match on Saturday 22 June.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Jann Stuckey, believes securing the matches will prove a huge hit with Rugby fans across the state.
“Queensland will host the first east coast match of the 2013 Lions Tour as well as their first showdown against the Qantas Wallabies – giving Queensland Rugby fans a rare opportunity to see one of the most iconic sporting teams in the world play at Suncorp Stadium,” the Minister said.
“This Test match is part of a 10-year agreement between ARU, Events Queensland, Stadiums Queensland and AEG Ogden which will see Queensland host more international Tests like this – playing a vital role in reaching the Newman Government’s 2020 target to increase overnight visitor expenditure in Queensland to $30 billion.”
From Queensland the Lions will head to Newcastle for the first of three games in NSW.
On Wednesday 12 June the Lions will take on a combined NSW-QLD Country side at Hunter Stadium, then three days later meet the NSW Waratahs at Allianz Stadium.
Finally the Lions will return to Sydney on Saturday 6 July at ANZ Stadium for the third and final Test of their 2013 Tour of Australia.
NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, said NSW will host three out of the nine matches in Australia as part of the British & Irish Lions 125th Anniversary Tour in 2013.
“We are proud to have the lion’s share of the matches here in New South Wales,” Minister Souris said.
“Fans in Sydney, Western Sydney and Regional NSW have more opportunities to attend a Lions Tour match and witness some of the best Rugby in the world.
“The chance to see the Qantas Wallabies take on the British & Irish Lions only happens once every 12 years so I urge supporters not to miss out.”
The British & Irish Lions will mark the half-way point of their 2013 Tour in the Nation’s capital with a match against the Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday 18 June.
The tour match will be the last hit-out for the tourists ahead of the opening Test in Brisbane on Saturday 22 June.
ACT Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Andrew Barr, said the British & Irish Lions match at Canberra Stadium will be a fantastic challenge for our Brumbies.
“The match will be a highlight for Rugby fans in Canberra and the surrounding region, and a boost for our local tourism industry,” Mr Barr said.
“This is just one of the great sporting events Canberra will be hosting in its Centenary Year, and focus attention on Canberra as Australia’s sporting capital and as a great place to visit.”
On Tuesday 25 June Melbourne will host the first of two games in Victoria when the Rebels take on the visitors at AAMI Park.
Four days later the Qantas Wallabies and Lions will go head-to-head at Etihad Stadium in the second Test of the three-Test Series.
Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Louise Asher, said Melbourne was both proud and excited to be hosting two British & Irish Lions games next year.
“The 2013 matches will provide excitement for local Rugby fans of all ages,” Ms Asher said.
“They will also contribute to Melbourne's most-liveable lifestyle, and cement Melbourne's position as the sports and major events capital of Australia."
For the entire 2013 Australian Tour schedule click here
British Lions Tour Ticketing - FAQ
A full breakdown of ticket prices and where they can be purchased for each of the six tour matches and three Test matches in Australia is below.