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British and Irish Lions in Melbourne

Watching the British and Irish Lions in Melbourne was not on my to-do list when I went to Australia on my working holiday visa.

I don’t think I was even aware that they were even playing that year! So to end up going and having one of the best sporting experiences of my life was quite the turnaround!

Some of you are probably reading this and wondering who or what are the British and Irish Lions? Well, they are a rugby team that is comprised of the best players in Britain and Ireland.

Every four years they tour one of the three main rugby-playing nations in the Southern Hemisphere; Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.

This is a big event, as it is the only time that England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales play together on the international stage. So demand for tickets is quite high and as I was living in Australia at the time it was potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I could not miss out on!

Etihad Stadium in Melbourne

Despite going to lots of sports events, I had never been to a rugby match before, so I was eager to experience to go to one!

Given that this was a big event and probably one that I was unlikely to experience again, I was extremely fortunate to be able to go. Especially as I only bought my ticket a few days before the Second Test, when they had supposedly sold out minutes after they originally went on sale!

What had prompted me to look into tickets was watching the first test, with the worst hangover I’ve ever had I might add, and talking about upcoming games in work! The Lions were playing two games in Melbourne, with a warm-up before the Second Test.

I thought about going to the warm-up match, but then thought I’d check if there were tickets for the real thing. Luckily, there were a few, they weren’t cheap, but they were definitely worth it!

The atmosphere in Melbourne on the day of the match was electric, everywhere I looked there were red shirts. Hearing a British accent was a novelty, but on this day, it was normal, Melbourne had been invaded!

Once I got inside the ground and found my great seat (definitely worth the money!), the atmosphere was incredible. I’ve been to a lot of football matches, most at Anfield, which is renowned for the atmosphere it produces, but the atmosphere was something else.

Perhaps it helped that national pride was on the line and that the Aussies are fiercely patriotic when it comes to their sporting teams, but the atmosphere was electric, 60,000 fixated on a contest between man and ball!

Unfortunately, the match did not end the way I would have liked, as a late try and Leigh Halfpenny missing a penalty to win with the last kick of the match meant Australia won. However, the atmosphere and the spectacle of a Rugby match more than made for this, making it one of the most enjoyable moments, sporting wise while I was in Oz!

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