The 12-year wait is almost over for rugby union royalty to return down under.
Rugby Australia have announced the full schedule for the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia in 2025, with nine matches to be played across a 36-day visit.
Headlining the much anticipated announcement is the return of a trans-Tasman invitational match for the first time since 1989, to be held in Adelaide.
It will appear as one of the lead-up matches to the first Wallabies Test, with some of Australia and New Zealand’s best players potentially available to play alongside each other for a historic match 33 years in the making.
The Wallabies will play the usual three-Test match series, with the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia involving five games against the country’s Super Rugby sides.
Luckily for Australian rugby fans, there will be no shortage of opportunities to witness this incredible tour, with games in all of the nation’s major cities.
The make-up of the sides are still to be determined, with the Lions tour of Australia too far away to call just yet. But with a lot to unpack already, here’s everything we know so far about this upcoming instalment in Australian rugby history.
When is the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia?
We are still a little while out from the Lions tour of Australia but one things for certain, outside of the upcoming Rugby World Cup, this is where the Wallabies’ attention is.
The tour will start in Perth against the Western Force on Saturday, June 28 and will finish up in Sydney on August 2 with the third Test of the Lions-Wallabies series.
It’s been a decade since the Lions last toured Australia and with some new recruits coming into the Wallabies’ potential lineup such as NRL convert Joseph Sua’ali’i, there should be plenty of interest swirling around.
Who are the British & Irish Lions?
The British and Irish Lions are a team formed of the best rugby players from the United Kingdom and Ireland — somewhat of an all-star lineup.
They have been touring the southern hemisphere since 1899, every four years going to either New Zealand, Australia or South Africa in rotation.
Their games bring plenty of tourism to the country they are playing in, with an estimated 40,000 international visitors expected to drive a strong economic outcome for the nation during the Lions tour of Australia.
Come 2025, it will be the British and Irish Lions’ tenth tour to Australia in the history of the concept.
What’s the schedule for the British & Irish Lions tour of Australia?
As per usual, when the British and Irish Lions tour a nation, they will play a three-Test series against the host nation — Australia in this case.
And there will also be matches against Australia’s Super Rugby sides woven in between the hectic schedule, giving members of the broader Lions’ squad playing opportunities as well.
Headlining the Lions tour of Australia is not just the Test series, but the return of the trans-Tasman invitational.
There will be nine games played across the entire tour in just 36 days of pure entertainment for not only rugby fans in Australia, but around the world.
Full Lions schedule in 2025:
Game 1 | Lions vs Western Force, Optus Stadium, Perth | Saturday June 28
Game 2 | Lions vs Queensland Reds, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane | Wednesday July 2
Game 3 | Lions vs NSW Waratahs, Allianz Stadium, Sydney | Saturday July 5
Game 4 | Lions vs ACT Brumbies, GIO Stadium, Canberra | Wednesday July 9
Game 5 | Lions vs trans-Tasman Invitational (Aus & NZ XV), Adelaide Oval | Saturday July 12
Game 6 | Lions vs Wallabies (1st Test), Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane | Saturday July 19
Game 7 | Lions vs Melbourne Rebels, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne | Tuesday July 22
Game 8 | Lions vs Wallabies (2nd Test), Melbourne Cricket Ground | Saturday July 26
Game 9 | Lions vs Wallabies (3rd Test), Accor Stadium, Sydney | Saturday August 2
What happened last time the Lions toured Australia?
Lions won 2-1, 2013
It’s been a decade since the last British and Irish Lions tour of Australia, which was a successful one winning the three-Test series 2-1.
The first two matches were decided by two-points or less with the Lions winning in Brisbane 23-21, followed by Australia levelling the series after a 16-15 victory down in Melbourne.
The decider was a disappointing outing for the Wallabies, going down 41-16 in front of a packed Stadium Australia in Sydney.
What is the trans-Tasman invitational?
Unlike the past couple of British & Irish Lions tours down under, the 2025 tour will host a match between the Lions and a combined Australia-New Zealand team.
Named the ‘trans-Tasman invitational’, it will be the first of its kind since 1989 when the Lions defeated the ANZAC XV 19-15 in Brisbane after winning the series over the Wallabies 2-1.
The exciting marquee match could be a huge draw card for Union to bring in non-rugby fans through the possibility of seeing the arch-rivals team up; the opposite of what we will be seeing during the Bledisloe Cup.
Back in 1989, there were only three All Blacks players that started for the ANZAC XV. It is far too early to call who will be in the side considering it’s still a couple years away, but it’s safe to say there will be more than that this time around.