British & Irish Lions
O'Driscoll wants Lions match in Pacific Islands
July 19, 2014
Brian O'Driscoll wants to see the Lions in the Pacific Islands © Getty Images
British & Irish Lions great Brian O'Driscoll has called on the famous side to play a match in the Pacific Islands as part of their 2017 tour to New Zealand.
Following Friday's news the All Blacks will play a Test in Samoa next year as part of their 2015 Rugby World Cup build-up, O'Driscoll believes the Lions should follow suit and include a match in the Pacific Islands as part of their 2017 tour.
Their last jaunt to Australia was preceded by a trip to Hong Kong to face the Barbarians, a game some deemed to be teed up to satisfy the Lions' sponsors HSBC, but O'Driscoll would like to see the tourists forgo commercial opportunity in 2017.
"It is probably more of a give than a take for the Lions [to play in the Pacific Islands] but it would be great for the people there and it would probably take away from that commercial feel that the Lions are this commercial juggernaut," O'Driscoll told The Times. "It might be a clever move from the Lions' point of view to play a game down there."
And the IRB's general manager for Oceania, William Glenwright, has echoed O'Driscoll's views. "It would be magic. Rugby is so important to the fabric of the three Pacific Island nations and the strength of the brands of teams like the All Blacks, the Wallabies and the Lions is so strong that to have those countries touring the Pacific Islands sends a message that they matter, that they are an important part of world rugby -- and they are.
"It is difficult to persuade them to do it when there is no money for them, so you have to find another angle. The argument I'll be using is that a match against a Pacific Island in the Pacific Islands won't tick the finance box but it will tick the high performance box.
"It would be great to have that meeting and even just look at the possibility of it. It would send a really good message."
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