The Lions are here!

by Staff Writer

Feisty Western Force halfback Brett Sheehan has promised the British and Irish Lions a bruising and potentially "fiery" welcome to Australia when they clash on Wednesday night in Perth.

Coach Warren Gatland's squad of Welsh, Scottish, Irish and English stars have arrived in Perth to begin their nine-match, three-Test tour of Australia.

After a hit-and-giggle Lions tour opener in Hong Kong, Sheehan said the Force intended to engage the tourists in a battle that will lay down a physical marker about the "bloody hard" rugby the Lions can expect in Australia over the next five weeks.

True to form, Sheehan also left the door open for an early test of the Lions' discipline by pledging to play his standard, up-close-and-personal style at Pattersons Stadium.

"Gatland stressed they wanted to stay disciplined (after Hong Kong). There were a few things that got under their skins. Maybe we can do a bit of the same, we'll see what happens," Sheehan said.

"It's a game of rugby where we don't want to hold anything back; we want to go at them and let them know what it's going to be like (in Australia).

"We want it to be an extremely physical and for them to know they've been in a battle. If it's gets fiery, that's good. That's good for us."

The Lions touched down in Perth early this morning and, relieved to be in far cooler conditions than steamy Hong Kong, trained lightly. They name their team for Wednesday's game later today.

The Force won't reveal their team for the clash until tomorrow, but based on their training this morning, it appears many of the Force's first-choice players will not play.

With a Super Rugby competition game four days later on Sunday, coach Michael Foley looks to have prioritised victory over the Tahs above piling his best players into Wednesday's night match in the hope of a giant-killing scalp.

Captain Matt Hodgson, who will be one of a handful to play both matches, said the selection of two teams to win two games was "a challenge" but echoed Sheehan's sentiments about giving the Lions a tough western welcome.

"Any loss will be a blow to them. They have probably come out and pencilled in victories in most of their games leading up to the Test match. If we can't get the win, we can hopefully get a solid performance and hopefully hurt a few of their bodies," Hodgson said.

"We see it as we're the underdog taking on a world class team."

The Lions, who only tour once every four years, are desperate for success in Australia as they have not won a series since defeating South Africa in 1997.

They have been boosted by coming through Saturday's 59-8 rout of a Barbarians team in Hong Kong with no major injuries and by news that captain Sam Warburton hopes to be fit for Wednesday.

The Welsh flanker missed the game in Hong Kong with a knee problem but team doctor James Robson said he was "progressing well''.

The Lions face the Wallabies in three Tests in Brisbane on June 22, Melbourne on June 29 and Sydney on July 6.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is scheduled to finalise his squad on June 11.

To get your tickets for the Lions first match on the DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour against the Western Force CLICK HERE

If you can't get to the game make sure you watch it LIVE on Fox Sports 2, Wednesday June 5th, at 6PM AWST/ 8PM AEST/ 7.30PM ACST, and if you're worrying about missing the State of Origin you can watch a replay on Fox Sports 1 at 8.30PM AWST/ 10.30PM AEST/ 10.00PM ACST so you'll be bale to watch the LIONS LIVE and still catch both games.

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