June International Tours

Marshall calls for Bok-less S.Hemisphere Lions


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Former All Blacks halfback Justin Marshall has called for the formation of a Southern Hemisphere version of the British and Irish Lions to be formed so that they can tour every four years.

Marshall is in Australia as he will play for the Barbarians against the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday and says that a combined team of Australians and New Zealanders would be just as attractive as the Lions.

Going into the professional era there was doubt over whether the Lions would be able to survive but they are still the biggest event in rugby outside of the Rugby World Cup.

Despite the Lions having 100 years of history behind them Marshall says that an Anzac team could be the southern hemisphere equivalent of the Lions but made no mention of including southern hemisphere’s other great rugby nation the Springboks.

“I would have thought it would be something people would really like to see,” Marshall said.

“Australians and New Zealanders together in an Anzac format would be something that people would come and watch.

“I’d go and watch it. It’s something that would really attract my interest even if I wasn’t involved.”

Marshall added that he would also like to see the Barbarians, who are another great rugby tradition which has survived professionalism, tour the southern hemisphere on a regular basis.

“The Barbarians are hopefully giving southern hemisphere rugby something different,” Marshall told the Australian.

“Something they are not used to seeing. It’s great for rugby.

“Could the Barbarians go to New Zealand and play the All Blacks?

“When I left (New Zealand) in 2005 the Lions were something different. They hadn’t seen them in 12 years. The country was abuzz.

“To see players of this calibre is great for Australian rugby and would be good for New Zealand rugby as well. It would be a good trip for us as well.”

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans also backed the idea of an Anzac touring team.

“It’s something the players would enjoy I’m sure,” Deans said.

“It’s a thrill for a player to have an opportunity to gather with their peers from other nations and that opportunity in the professional era isn’t as frequent.

“The opportunity to mix and mingle with people you played against is fantastic.

“You only have to see the way the players respond to the Lions opportunity. It’s something they treasure.

“I have no doubt it would be similar if an Anzac concept was to be launched.”

Unlike Marshall Deans said that he would like to see the idea include South Africa as well as Australia and New Zealand.

“It would probably need to be more than two,” Deans said.

“The whole three. Southern hemisphere, but Anzac would be good.”

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