With the Lions having just recorded a second convincing victory on their 2013 tour and the test matches against the Wallabies fast approaching we take a look at the locations for each of the three main events and the difficulties that each stadium pose.
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
22 June 2013, 11:00 (8pm local time)
Forecast; overcast, mild (16°), with a fair chance of thunderstorms and 6 km/h Easterly wind.
Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane will play host to the first of the three test matches on this years Lions tour. The stadiums 52,500 capacity is spread through three tiers in a rectangular shape making it the ideal location for rugby games. With stands situated right on the sidelines of the pitch, it is believed by many in Australia to be the best stadium for watching live rugby.Having been used during the 2003 Rugby World Cup as well as more regularly by local Super XV side the Queensland Reds the stadium is well used to hosting rugby games on a huge scale.
The intimate nature of the stadium and dry conditions in the run up to and during the game are likely to favour the Aussies. The relatively light wind in a covered stadium and firmer ground is likely to suit the Aussies more elusive style of play and could see them snatch a victory in the first test, although a strong Lions support could help create a fantastic atmosphere in the intimate stadium and fire the men in red on to victory.
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
29 June 2013, 11:00 (8pm local time)
Forecast; cloudy, cool (13°), with a small chance of rain and a 5km/h North Westerly breeze.
The Etihad Stadium in Melbourne is the newest stadium being used in the test matches, although is more used to hosting AFL than rugby, although it was also used for hosting matches during the 2013 Rugby World Cup. Possibly the most unique feature of the stadium is its retractable roof that could be affect pre-match preparations for both sides. The stadium is built around an oval pitch due to it’s Aussie rules affiliation making for a slightly less intimate atmosphere.
The enclosed nature of the stadium and the hosts ability to open or close the roof based on the conditions. This is again likely to play into the Aussies hands as the potentially drier conditions combined with shelter from the wind is likely to suit their running game more and negate some of the kicking advantage the Lions might other wise be able to assert.
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
6 July, 2013, 11:00 (8pm local time)
Forecast; mild (16°), little to no chance or rain with a cooling 23 km/h North Westerly gust.
The ANZ Stadium, better known as Stadium Australia is by far the largest stadium on the tour, able to accommodate more than 80,000 fans. The stadium is used to hosting major sporting events having been the centrepiece of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney were it was temporarily extended to hold 110,000. The stadium is also regularly used to host rugby union test matches so the Wallabies will be well used to the pitch before the final test.
By this stage the tour could be over with one side having already won both of the previous tests, however almost all predictions to this point have indicated the final test is likely to be the decided making this potentially the most important game of the tour. Although the conditions are likely to be dry, there is the potential for dew to have started building up on the pitch and combined with windy conditions could prove troublesome for the Wallabies. That being said playing at their home stadium could provide extra encouragement for the team and spur them on to victory.
Although it is difficult to predict the exact conditions this early into the tour, the initial forecasts are suggesting the weather may play in the Wallabies hands. Dry conditions will suit their running with ball in hand style of play and could allow some of their light-footed backs to run rings around the Lions. The odd bit of damp and always impressive Lions support could well help the Lions and provide them with victory however.
How did you think the tour will pan out and will the different stadiums affect the results…