John O'Neill proposes Lions-Anzac Test
May 10, 2013
Twickenham would surely be filled to capacity for the proposed fixture © Getty Images
John O'Neill has proposed a "Remembrance Day" match between the British & Irish Lions and an Anzac XV at Twickenham in 2015 to commemorate the centenary anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.
O'Neill told Rugby Gold that "2015 is the centenary anniversary of Gallipoli and the rugby league guys and everyone are talking about how we're going to commemorate it". The former Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive said the Test calendar of Rugby World Cup 2015 year presented an ideal opportunity for the Lions and a combined Wallabies-All Blacks side to honour the Commonwealth soldiers who died in World War I. O'Neill told Rugby Gold that he had held informal discussions before leaving the ARU in October 2012, and wanted his successor at the ARU, Bill Pulver, to lobby for the proposed fixture.
"I can't speak on the ARU's behalf now, so it is up to somebody else," O'Neill said. "It wouldn't be hard. The Lions never play at home, but to commemorate 100 years since World War I and Gallipoli ... you can't do it on April 25 because that's in the middle of Super Rugby but a couple of weeks after the World Cup, assembling the British and Irish Lions to play the Anzacs at Twickenham would be a wonderful way to commemorate the 100 years."
The tight international calendar scuttles such proposals in most years, but players would be on leave and free to remain in London and play in November after Rugby World Cup 2015. The proposed fixture would certainly sell out Twickenham, and that would be attractive as nations tend to suffer huge financial losses in a World Cup year because Test tours are prohibited.
"The 2015 World Cup finishes on October 31, and as close as possible to November 11 - Remembrance Day - the British and Irish Lions should play a combined Wallabies-All Blacks side at Twickenham," O'Neill said. "It would be a fantastic event."
Would you like to see the British & Irish Lions play a combined Anzac XV? Who would you select for the Anzac side? Leave a comment below to join the conversation.
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