Despite not playing Super Rugby, the Lions will have no shortage of game time next season after their 2013 fixture list was revealed on Tuesday.
The Johannesburg-based union was forced into scheduling a series of matches for next year after the South African Rugby Union (SARU) replaced them with the Southern Kings for next year’s Southern Hemisphere showpiece event.
In what will effectively be known as the Lions Challenge, they will play matches against teams from afar as Russia, America, France, Samoa and Namibia. Matches will take place locally as well as abroad.
They will also play friendly games against local Super Rugby teams.
The games will serve as good preparation for their Super Rugby promotion-relegation series, when they will come up against the lowest ranked South African Super Rugby team.
The union said on its Facebook page an official Lions Challenge tournament launch will be made shortly.
Lions’ fixture list for 2013 (excluding Currie Cup fixtures):
19 January: Lions v Russia – Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg
23 January: Lions v Cheetahs – Coca-Cola Park
2 February: Lions v Bulls – Orlando Stadium, Soweto
9 February: Lions v Kings – Coca-Cola Park
23 February: Namibia v Lions – Windhoek
16 March: Lions v Mont de Marsan – Coca-Cola Park
13 April: US Invitational v Lions – Ervine, California
20 April: US Invitational v Lions – Vancouver, Canada
27 April: Chicago Lions v Lions – Chicago
11 May: Lions v Agen – Coca-Cola Park
1 June: Lions v Samoa – Coca-Cola Park
8 June: Lions v French Barbarians – Coca-Cola Park
15 June: Lions v Stormers – Coca-Cola Park
21 June: Lions v Sharks – Coca-Cola Park
12 July: Lions v Montpellier – Coca-Cola Park
20 July: Lions v Grenoble – Coca-Cola Park
27 July: Super Rugy promotion/relegation first leg – TBA
3 August: Super Rugby promotion/relegation – Coca-Cola Park