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By ARU Media Unit
It’s been 12 years in the making and in 100 Days Perth will welcome the iconic British & Irish Lions back to Australian shores for the opening match of their highly anticipated 2013 tour.
The first of the Lions’ nine matches will be against the Western Force at Patersons Stadium on Wednesday 5 June, their first against a franchise that was not in existence when they last travelled to Australia.
ARU CEO, Bill Pulver, said Perth was the perfect setting to kick off the tour that’s been 12 years in the making.
“Perth is a wonderful city that will provide a great welcome for the Lions and the many thousands of supporters that will travel with them,” Mr Pulver said.
“The Force, who will be playing their first international match, will provide some stiff competition for the Lions in their first hit out on Australian soil.
“After 12 years of waiting we are now just 100 days away from beginning what is looming as the most successful Lions Tour in Australian Rugby history.”
Tickets to the Western Force v Lions match are on sale now through ticketmaster with prices starting from $15 for a junior, $30 for an adult and $60 for a family of four.
Eventscorp Executive Director, Gwyn Dolphin, said hosting the first match of the British & Irish Lions Australian Tour again was a key event for Western Australia.
“The opening match of the Tour in Australia provides a fantastic opportunity for locals and visitors to the State to experience one of world Rugby’s great occasions, with one of the most iconic Rugby teams in action against WA’s own Super Rugby side, the Western Force,” Mr Dolphin said.
“The match will attract strong local support for the Western Force, as well as a big contingent from WA’s large British ex-pat community and fans travelling from across the UK to follow the Lions during the tour.
“It promises to be a great event with a wonderful atmosphere.”
It will be an historic night for Perth and the Force, a night that Force scrum half Brett Sheehan has his sights set on.
“In the Rugby world the Lions are enormous, if you’re lucky enough to be playing when they come you just hope that you’re fit and have the chance to face them,” Sheehan said.
“One of the games great players Nathan Sharpe had a fantastic career but never got to play so if I get the chance in June to take them on I’ll give it everything I’ve got.
“The fact they only come to Australia once every 12 years, combined with the fact that they’re made up of the best players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales means it’s a once in a career opportunity.”
The Lions opening Tour match is sponsored by Tourism WA, through its Eventscorp division, as part of a three-year deal with Australian Rugby Union.
The three-year deal also sees the Wallabies play International Test matches against Argentina, in September this year, and South Africa in 2014.