Rivals on the field, mates off, rugby stars sign up to relive battle in classic matches against British & Irish XV

by RUGBY.com.au staff

The last two British & Irish Lions Tours to Australia in 2001 and 1989 produced some of the most historic moments and memorable heroes in world Rugby history.

It’s been 12 long years since the last clash, but in 2013 some of these very heroes will reunite to relive the archetypal battles of a Lions Tour once more on Australian soil.

At Ballymore in Brisbane on Friday 21st June, a team of Classic Anzacs will come together for an epic encounter with their British & Irish counterparts raising money for Australian, British, and New Zealand soldiers who have been adversely affected by their commitment to military operations.

Some of Australia and New Zealand’s finest, including former Wallabies Stephen Larkham Nathan Grey, and Chris Latham and All Black Scott Robertson, will step onto the field for the Anzacs to face former legends of British & Irish Rugby for a timeless revival of Lions Tours passed.

Managed by Simon Halliday, the former England centre and the brains behind the Heroes Challenge at Twickenham in 2008 and 2011, the British & Irish XV will feature some of Britain and Ireland’s Rugby royalty including Craig Chalmers, Rob Henderson, Ben Clarke and Ben Hinshelwood. Each side will also include six military members from the Services of the relevant nation.

The Triple M Classic Rugby match supported by Suncorp at Ballymore will be played to raise funds for Mates 4 Mates, a foundation recently established to assist wounded servicemen and women who have suffered mentally or physically as a result of contemporary military operations.

The Classic Anzacs and British & Irish XV will compete for the Major Blair Swannell Cup, named after the former British and Australian Army Officer who is one of the only Rugby players to have represented the British Isles (in 1899 & 1904) and Australia (in 1905). Major Swannell was killed on 25th April 1915 at Gallipoli, making him a true Anzac Legend.

On Thursday 4 July, at the old stomping ground of North Sydney Oval, Justin Harrison, Bill Young and Sam Cordingley will be amongst the Classic Wallabies side to take on the British & Irish Rugby Legends, including Shane Byrne, Colin Charvis, Jamie Noon and Alan Quinlan.

Featuring some of the talent that shaped the last British & Irish Lions Tour to Australia in 2001, the Classic Wallabies matchup against the legends of British & Irish Rugby will showcase Lions Tour history in Australia in the lead up to this year’s final Lions Tour Test match in Sydney, with all monies raised going towards grassroots and Club Rugby.

It’s not the first time Classic Rugby sides have formed to raise funds and awareness for a worthy cause. In 2011 a Classic Wallabies v Classic All Blacks match was played to a sell-out crowd at Ballymore and raised over $600,000 for the Christchurch earthquake and Queensland flood victims.

Details of both Classic matches are below:

Triple M Classic Rugby supported by Suncorp - Classic ANZACs v British & Irish XV

Date: Friday 21st June 2013

Time: Classic ANZACs v British & Irish XV kick-off at 7.30pm. Gates open at 5.30pm.

Venue: Ballymore, 91 Clyde Road Herston QLD.

Tickets: Go on sale Monday 27 May and are available through Ticketek here. Tickets are $25.00 each.

Visit the Facebook page for the latest updates on who has been confirmed for each team.

North Sydney Oval - Classic Wallabies v British & Irish Legends

Date: Thursday 4 July 2013

Time: Classic Wallabies v British & Irish Legends kick-off at 7.45pm. Gates open at 3.30pm.

Venue: North Sydney Oval, Miller St North Sydney

Tickets: Available through Ticketmaster here. Tickets are $25.00 each or $50.00 for a family (2 adults, 2 children). Corporate Tickets are $95.00pp and include finger food and a chance to meet Classic Wallabies and ex-Lions players.