Rugby Union: Vox Pop: With rugby's world champions in town, is it time for a Lions' Test series at home?

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MILES HARRISON Sky TV commentator

Going on the Lions tour to South Africa in 1997 was the most thrilling experience I could imagine from a commentating point of view, but as a member of the travelling retinue it was apparent it could only really happen abroad, not at home. The top priority for any national coach in the British Isles is to create a side capable of beating Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in their own right and to have a chance of doing that they need fixtures on a home-and-away basis. To lose those games would be a devastating blow.

ALASTAIR HIGNELL BBC radio commentator

You can make a case to play a one-off Test as a finale to any tour by a southern hemisphere country, but finding time to get the players together would be difficult. It would be terribly sad if the Home Unions no longer had these tours because part of being an international is to want to pit yourself against the best. The traditional end-of-tour Barbarians game, which seems to have fallen by the wayside, showed that good players don't need too much preparation time together, but the game is now more about split-second timing than ever before.


This has been suggested many times. However, I suspect that previous Lions would object because they earned their selection for a summer tour mainly as a result of their performances in the Five Nations' Championship, whereas in November a Lions squad could only be picked on club form. To my knowledge, the Lions have actually only once played at home, and that was in 1977 when pounds 100,000 was donated to the Queen's Silver Jubilee fund. The famous Barbarians of 1973 were like a Lions team, but they fielded two uncapped players.

BILL McLAREN BBC TV commentator

Realistically, Scotland would regard it as a tremendous result if they held South Africa to a 10-point margin of victory. The same is undoubtedly true of Wales and Ireland, but if the opportunity was taken away from them to test their mettle against the best, and at the moment South Africa are the best, then depriving them of their chance of glory might do even more harm. I think South Africa would rather play the home nations than the Lions. On the other hand, Barbarians games have produced some of the finest rugby I've commentated on.

JOEL STRANSKY Former SA international

There should be a mixed combination. Not to play against the Home Unions would be very sad for both the tourists and the home players. At the same time it would be great to see the British Lions play some home Tests, and the crowds would love it. A happy medium could be achieved at the end of a tour with one, or ideally two, games against the Lions. The Lions would need a week together but it would be interesting to see how a squad assembled from scratch on the Monday fares in a big game the following Saturday.


It's amazing how often the Home Unions have countered the might of the southern hemisphere. England see themselves as South Africa's equals, despite last summer, and it's up to the other nations to close the gap. The Barbarians' fixture with the tourists is unfortunately a casualty of the new era - some of my best rugby was with invitation sides. Ireland, Scotland and Wales did their bit for the Lions in South Africa - that must have encouraged their countrymen back home. Question and Answer: Platform for your sporting queries

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