All Blacks and Australia set to field combined XV against Lions in 2025
Hold onto your hats/caps/beers.
The British & Irish Lions could play a combined All Blacks and Wallabies team during their 2025 tour to Australia.
The two rugby nations have opened talks on forming an ANZAC XV for a game that, if it does take place, is already being tipped to sell out the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The last time such a fixture was held was on the 1989 Lions Tour, back in the amateur era.
The game, as it is currently envisioned, would take place as a curtain-raiser for the three-Test series against the Wallabies.
The man that could be tasked with leading the British & Irish Lions, Down Under, is Ireland head coach Andy Farrell. The IRFU has already stated it would be "ecstatic" if Farrell was approached for the role. The matter was discussed [from 12:15 below] on the latest House of Rugby episode.
Making a combined Kiwi & Wallabies XV
On the concept of a combined Australia New Zealand XV, Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan told Sportsmail:
"We've talked to the Kiwis about hosting an Anzac team against the Lions in 2025 and they’re considering the idea. I'm in no doubt it would be a belter and we’d sell the MCG out with 100,000 fans. The best of the Wallabies and the All Blacks."
With that concept Australia New Zealand XV still fresh and bubbling about in our heads, we took a look at both squads for the Autumn Nations Series and picked a combined team we'd love to see rip it up.
Of course, any starting XV will look a lot different in 31 months' time, but the fun is often in the speculating and picking. We ended up with the ABs shading it, 8 to 7, and a Kiwi-heavy backline behind an Oz-dominated pack.
OUR COMBINED ALL BLACKS & WALLABIES XV
15. Damien McKenzie (New Zealand)
14. Will Jordan (New Zealand)
13. Jordan Petaia (Australia)
12. Anton Lienert-Brown (New Zealand)
11. Jordie Barrett (New Zealand)
10. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
9. Aaron Smith (New Zealand)
1. James Slipper (Australia)
2. Folau Fainga'a (Australia)
3. Allan Alaalatoa (Australia)
4. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
5. Will Skelton (Australia)
6. Michael Hooper (Australia)
7. Fraser McReight (Australia)
8. Ardie Savea (New Zealand)
WATCH HOUSE OF RUGBY HERE: