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26th May 2021

‘Stash Vegas!’ – Lions get their hands on sweet, new gear at squad meet-up

Patrick McCarry


‘Stash Vegas!’

The 2021 British & Irish Lions squad have met up in England today in their first proper engagement together since Warren Gatland picked them to tour South Africa, on May 6.

The 37 lucky players and Gatland’s coaching and backroom staff are having a two-day event to get up to speed ahead of the June 26 warm-up against Japan and the eight-game tour.

Some photos from the get-together have been shared on the Lions’ Instagram page, and stories, with the likes of Tom Curry, Bundee Aki and Tadhg Furlong (below) looking fierce and focused:

The Lions may not get out for as many midweek socials, and trips into the wider communities of their host nation, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but they will be upholding some tour traditions.

One of them already got underway, earlier today, when Louis Rees-Zammit – the youngest member of the playing squad – was given the stuffed Lion cub that he has the responsibility of looking after for the duration of the tour.

2021 captain had that honour back in 2009, when he first toured South Africa with the Lions. His advice to his young Welsh teammate was, “Don’t let it out of your sight!”

Once the formalities were out of the way, the squad got introduced to the the Lions Tour kits and stash that they would have been dreaming about for the past few months.

On the latest House of Rugby Ireland episode [LISTEN from 8:30 below], Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray spoke about getting to briefly wear the Lions jersey for a preliminary photo-shoot, back during the Six Nations.

“They sent the jerseys to the [Ireland team] hotel, during the championship, to do the head-shots,” Conor Murray recalled.

“Because of Covid, you got the jersey sent to your room and you had to put it on there before you went down to this room, to get the shots taken. I put it on and had a weird moment, looking in the mirror and looking down at the jersey, thinking, ‘Jeez, this would be really cool to wear the jersey again and have a good crack off it’.”

Today, Murray and his Lions teammates got to try on, and keep, the gear they will be wearing in South Africa this summer.

Maro Itoje was already getting down to media duties while Courtney Lawes was looking like a man chomping at the bit to do some damage on the Lions’ behalf again:

We got some peaks at the training, casual and match gear the players will be sporting over the next few months.

It’s getting very real now.

The Lions start off with a June 26 game against Japan, at Murrayfield, before heading to South Africa for their warm-up games and three-Test Series with the world champion Springboks.


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