* required fields
By ARU Media Unit
Australian Rugby Union has today announced the Qantas Wallabies will have a dedicated three-week window to prepare for their once in a lifetime opportunity against the British & Irish Lions.
ARU CEO Bill Pulver said a squad of 25 players will go into camp from 2 June to maximise the chances of success in a showpiece series that returns to Australia for the first time since 2001.
The nominated players will be unavailable for their Super Rugby teams’ matches against the Lions in the lead up to the three-Test showdown which kicks off at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday, 22 June.
Decisions on availability for Super Rugby local derbies – Brumbies v Rebels on 7 June and Waratahs v Force on 9 June – will be made at a later date.
“If those Super Rugby matches have significant bearing on the competition standings, and finals spots are at stake, ARU will take that under serious consideration,” Mr Pulver said.
The three-week preparation window is a similar approach to 2001 when Wallabies players missed games between the Waratahs and Brumbies against the Lions.
All Blacks and Springboks Test players were also unavailable for provincial games during the Lions tours to New Zealand and South Africa in 2005 and 2009 respectively.
“There is no doubt from an Australian Rugby perspective that when the Lions come to Australia for their nine-match tour from 5 June to 6 July the primary objective is for the Qantas Wallabies to win the three-Test series and preparation is crucial,” said Mr Pulver.
“The Lions will be battle hardened, make no mistake. Their players are currently involved in the Six Nations Championship in Europe. They will also have a match in Hong Kong en route to Australia and five lead-up games to the first Test.
“A tour of this magnitude, featuring nine matches, provides the opportunity to expose a wide group of players across the country to international Rugby. That is great for the players, and the game in Australia.”
The initial 25-man Qantas Wallabies squad will have additional players added on 10 June, following the two Super Rugby local derbies on 7 and 9 June.