The waiting is almost over for the British & Irish Lions. On Saturday they take on Australia in the first test in Brisbane, hoping to match the result achieved the last time the Lions played a test in Queensland’s biggest city.
That game in 2001, also the first test of the series, ended in a Lions win and was made memorable by the ‘Sea of Red’ that greeted the tourists when they ran on the pitch, with the travelling support making it seem more like a home game.
The Lions go into the match after losing their 100% tour record on Tuesday against the ACT Brumbies; a result, which has somewhat pricked the aura that had been building around the squad.
Justin Tipuric has been unlucky to miss out on selection. Speaking ahead of the game, Tipuric said that the Lions won’t be picking out any particular Australian for special treatment.
“They have so many [dangermen] that you can’t pinpoint one or two, if you do that then it will open holes up for the other players. You just have to stop the momentum they get in attack.”
Prop Matt Stevens was a surprise pick for the squad, but has been making his presence felt off the pitch with his musical skills.
“I’ve brought the guitar along. All the boys like a singsong. There are lots of other guitarists in the team, Jamie Roberts and Sean Maitland – and they are much better guitarists than me!”
Come Saturday, British & Irish Lions fans will be hoping it is they who are calling the tune.