The Lions' playing schedule for 2013 has been revealed, with the Johannesburg franchise set to play a number of international sides in a busy line-up, including a North American tour.
Following SARU's decision to relegate them from Super Rugby next year, the Lions faced a challenge over securing competitive fixtures ahead of the promotion/relegation clash with the bottom placed South African Super Rugby side, but they have managed to ensure that they will not be short on game-time. With home games against all of the South African Super Rugby sides already secured, the Lions will also do battle with international teams such as Samoa, Namibia and Russia, whilst they also have a number of matches with European and American sides lined up as well.
There has been speculation that the Lions would take on some USA teams, and the latest news is that the Chicago Lions RFC has secured the very prestigious fixture with the South African Lions on April 27th, 2013 in Chicago.
Included in the tour are two matches against a select USA Invitational team, scheduled to take place on April 13th in Irvine, California, and then on April 20th in Vancouver, Canada.
The Lions will spend three weeks in North America in what will be a first for the franchise.
These exciting fixtures will further promote rugby in the United States, and across the globe. Current USA Eagle captain and face of American rugby - Todd Clever - who played two outstanding seasons for the Lions in the Super Rugby competition, is rumoured to be involved in the tour pending his current contract.
"This is superb news for rugby in the United States, and having various international rugby brands travel to North America only helps promote this wonderful sport we love. Hopefully this will strengthen the idea of professional rugby teams playing the domestic USA Eagles, and increasing the local opportunity for television coverage of rugby." - said The Rugby Corner owner Dallen Stanford.
Lions 2013 playing schedule:
January 19 v Russia at Ellis Park
January 23 v Cheetahs at Ellis Park
February 2 v Bulls at Orlando Stadium
February 9 v Kings at Ellis Park
February 23 v Namibia in Windhoek
March 16 v Mont de Marsan at Ellis Park
April 13 v US Invitational in Irvine, California (USA)
April 20 v US Invitational in Vancouver (Canada)
April 27 v Chicago Lions in Chicago (USA)
May 11 v Agen at Ellis Park
June 1 v Samoa at Ellis Park
June 8 v French Barbarians at Ellis Park
June 15 v Stormers at Ellis Park
June 21 v Sharks at Ellis Park
July 12 v Montpellier at Ellis Park
July 20 v Grenoble at Ellis Park
July 27 - promotion/relegation - opponent and venue TBC
August 3 - promotion relegation at Ellis Park - opponent TBC
|US Eagle captain Todd Clever (left) with Lions & Springbok, Earl Rose.|