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Thread: Melbourne Rebels' demise appears to create a hole in the 2025 British and Irish Lions

  1. #1
    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    West Leederville

    Melbourne Rebels' demise appears to create a hole in the 2025 British and Irish Lions

    Heffler NEW AUTHOR
    Roar Rookie
    7 hours ago

    The recent axing of the Melbourne Rebels has left question marks in the schedule for the upcoming British and Irish Lions Tour next year.

    Is there still a fixture for July 22nd, 2025 and Will it still be played at Marvel Stadium?

    Most importantly, who will be playing?

    During a press conference in March, RA CEO Phil Waugh responded to a question about the implications to the Lions’ tour when there was still doubt over Melbourne’s termination.

    “While we are working through the Rebels situation, there will still be a fixture in Melbourne on that date,” Waugh told AAP.

    Assuming the venue for this fixture is indeed secure, Rugby Australia must now carefully consider its options for a team to face the Lions at Marvel Stadium.

    It is paramount that whichever option they decide upon does more than simply fill a hole in the fixture. The team should have significance and, in some way, showcase a facet of Australian rugby culture.

    An option that perhaps has not been considered to date, could be to select an Australian Country XV.

    The numbers show that Australian rugby is failing to engage and inspire enough junior players, especially those who are growing up in regional towns that love the game.

    Alex Corbisiero, Owen Farrell and Geoff Parling hold the Tom Richards Cup. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

    Right now, the harsh reality is that, if you are a young player with potential, and you are not living in a capital city, and not attending an elite private school in that city, it is highly unlikely that you will be selected for higher honours in Junior rugby.

    There are many things that Rugy Australia should be doing to address this reality.

    In the meantime, they have a golden opportunity to select a team that, at the very least, honours the communities that keep rugby alive outside of our capital cities.

    In theory, this could be a rather formidable team and the optimist in me reckons they could achieve a historic win over the Lions.

    Below is my hypothetical Australian Country XV.

    1 Harry Hoopert – Dalby, QLD
    2 Lachlan Lonergan – Williamsdale, NSW
    3 Harry Johnson-Holmes – Cowra, NSW
    4 Izack Rodda – Lismore, NSW
    5 Darcy Swain – Cairns, QLD
    6 Ned Hanigan (c) – Coonamble, NSW
    7 Charlie Cale – Dubbo, NSW
    8 Jed Holloway – Yamba, NSW
    9 Ryan Lonergan – Williamsdale, NSW
    10 Harry McLaughlin Phillips – Toowoomba, QLD
    11 Corey Toole – Wagga Wagga, NSW
    12 Hamish Stewart – Toowoomba, QLD
    13 Triston Reilly – Kempsey NSW
    14 Dylan Pietsch – Leeton, NSW
    15 Jock Campbell – Inverell, NSW

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  2. #2
    Veteran Sheikh's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    For a match between the 1st & 2nd Wallaby tests, RA are not going to risk any potential Wallabies appearing in the match on the 22nd July. And the B&I Lions probably wouldn't want to meet a side that strong in a mid-week match either (although they probably have a test side and a mid-week side, so less of an issue).

    I'd expect the match to become an Australia A side - the tackle-bag holders at Wallaby camp, or a makeshift 'Barbarians' style side, probably made up of Shute Shield players and one or two Australian players from Japan.

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  3. #3
    Immortal Contributor
    Burgs's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Country WA
    By now everyone on here should know I am a. "country" and b. love a hypothetical XV.
    The sentimentalist in me can see this concept, but the realist in me see's a 3 v +75 scoreline...
    Will likely be Australia A as suggested Sheikh, but another option may be an Invitational XV with a heavily Polynesian influence.
    Get interest back into the Islander Community to combat "the scourge" (just for you Shasta ) of League.
    Put a carrot out there for 10-12 year old boys that in 12 years time you too could be playing the Lions.
    The '89 Tour match at Perry Lakes was hugely influential on me and the poster took pride of place on wall for years, and that was prior to being able to make money from the experience!

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