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Classic Wallabies and British & Irish Legends thrill packed house at North Sydney Oval

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The British & Irish Rugby Legends defeated the Classic Wallabies 29 – 19 on Thursday night on the historic stomping ground of North Sydney Oval in front of a packed crowd of 12,425.

One of the oldest cricket grounds in Australia was brought back to life as an unprecedented number of Australian and British & Irish Rugby fans flooded through the long-standing gates ready to re-live the past glory days of the game.

With the vintage grandstands at capacity, for most it was standing room only as the choral Lions chant rang true.

The match did not disappoint the lively mass as some of the biggest names from past Wallabies and British & Irish Lions sides rediscovered their winning form.

The first half was filled with excitement with a try to each side before the ground’s lighting switched off, leaving the game in the dark as the two sides spent the next few moments playing in eerie conditions to an embankment of camera flashes.

The lighting did nothing to dim the British & Irish Rugby legends attacking efforts who at half time led 12 – 7 following another successful five pointer.

The second half continued in similar thrilling fashion as the Classic Wallabies answered most of the British & Irish Legends tries with their own successful line crosses.

The crowd grew increasingly vocal around the ground as the two legendary sides delivered some tantalising moments of Rugby.

The Classic Wallabies drew the scores soon into the second half with a try to Richard Stanford. The unsuccessful conversion kept the game drawn before the British & Irish Rugby Legends finally broke the level trend and emerged victorious.

The crowd numbers didn’t only add to the game’s atmosphere it also added to the game’s cause, with all monies raised going towards community Rugby and local Rugby Clubs.

Former Australian Wallaby, Justin Harrison, most famous for his lineout steal during the last British & Irish Lions Tour to Australia in 2001, felt it was a good game and enjoyed pulling on the boots with former teammates for the experience.

“We all know each other, we met a bit before the game and worked out a few things to try and do,” Harrison said after the match.

“The game looked like it was going to be pretty close and it did finish pretty close.

“It’s all about enjoying Rugby,  it’s a good opportunity to raise money for junior Rugby, which is a great cause but it’s also a good opportunity for us to pretend that we used to know how to play Rugby reasonably well.

“It was an entertaining game and all the people here have smiles on their faces so that’s all that matters.

"The crowd was fantastic and it’s very humbling that we’ve been able to build this support. It’s a testament to the enthusiasm and energy that this British & Irish Lions Tour has created in Australia and Sydney.”

The match was a fitting build up for the tens of thousands of eager Rugby fans in Sydney ahead of the third, final and deciding Test match between the Qantas Wallabies and British & Irish Lions at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

Harrison believes Australia will win this year’s DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour Test Series, saying he thinks the team’s momentum is right.

“We have James Horwill who came through a disappointing disciplinary hearing and will be there to galvanise the team with his leadership.

“We’ve also got George Smith and some important characters ready to play some good Rugby. It’s two Tests in now, we’re starting to get our combinations right.

“Having said that the British & Irish Lions have picked I think their best team on Tour so far, they’ve got a good amount of enthusiasm and youth, they’ve not picked on nostalgia, they’ve picked on merit who are hungry to perform under pressure,” Harrison said.

The Classic Wallabies and British & Irish Rugby Legends teams

Classic Wallabies

British & Irish Legends

15. Andrew Walker

15. Mark Woodrow

14. Scott Staniforth

14. Dan Scarborough

13. Ryan Cross

13. Jamie Noon

12. Nathan Grey

12. Tom May ©

11. David Campese ©

11. Michael Stephenson

10. Scott Bowen

10. Jeremy Staunton

9. Sam Cordingley

9. Shaun Perry

8. Sam Scott-Young

8 .Anthony Foley

7 .David Croft

7. Liam Toland

6. Matt Cockbain

6. Colin Charvis

5. John Langford

5. Roy Winters

4. Justin Harrison

4. Matthew Salter

3. Bill Young

3. Peter Rogers

2. Jeremy Paul

2. Frankie Sheahan

1. Matt Dunning

1. Marcus Horan



16. Nick Gregorski

16. Shane Byrne

17. Ben Darwin

17. Nathan Thomas

18. Todd Pearce

18. Ben Sturnham

19. Michael Harkins

19. Alan Quinlan

20. Matt Dixon

20. Hall Charlton

21. Nick Riley

21. Arwel Thomas

22. Rod Moore

22. Robert Higgitt

23. Tim Wallace

23. John O’Neil

24. Joel Wilson

24. Cameron Murray

25. Richard Stanford

25. Craig Chalmers 


26. Rikki Davies

Coaching team


Head Coach: Damian Smith

Head Coach: Steve Boyle

Forwards Coach: Tim Kelaher

Assistant Coach: Ted Hedges