Brisbane build up

The British and Irish Lions will finally kick-off their Test series against Australia on Saturday at the Suncorp Stadium.

Last Updated: 21/06/13 at 13:22 Post Comment

The giant Lions shirt arrives in Brisbane

The giant Lions shirt arrives in Brisbane

The Lions have warmed-up for the three Tests with six tour games - with Warren Gatland's side recording five wins and just the one defeat.

As with any tour, injuries have had an impact on the preparations however Gatland has still named an exciting looking line-up as the Lions look to record their first series triumph since 1997.

The Wallabies, though, are in no mood to let the Lions have things their own way - and Robbie Deans is backing his troops to defy the odds over the course and emulating the 2001 success.

And ahead of the clash in Brisbane, we bring you all the latest news, views, video and opinion.

Lions chance for Corbisiero

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has included Alex Corbisiero in his starting XV to face Australia on Saturday. The England loosehead prop only teamed up with the tourists after Cian Healy was ruled out with an ankle injury - with Gethin Jenkins also heading home at the same time. However with the weather set to play a part at the Suncorp Stadium, Corbisiero gets the nod ahead of the in-form Marko Vunipola because of his strength in the scrum.

Deans ready for the Lions

Australia coach Robbie Deans insists his side will "hit the ground running" against the British and Irish Lions on Saturday. "We have made the most of the time we have had and I can assure you they will hit the ground running," he said. "They know what is coming. We have tapped into the past, we've prepared as best as we can and we can't do any more without playing to be frank." Deans has named three uncapped players in his line-up, while he has rejigged his back division.

Woodward pleased

Former Lions head coach Sir Clive Woodward has stated that he was not surprised to see Alex Corbisiero named in the starting XV ahead of Mako Vunipola for the first Test against Australia. "It's a very good team," Woodward told Sky Sports. "I think, to be fair, I would have picked Corbisiero if I was on the inside knowing he's fit. He's definitely, when he's fully fit, ahead of (Mako) Vunipola so I think it's a very strong team. Speaking to all the media, everyone seems pretty happy with it."

Corbs: I'll take my chance

Alex Corbisiero is delighted to have put his injury woes behind him as he prepares to make his British and Irish Lions Test debut. "I just wanted to make the most of the opportunities I was given, try to put my hand up and let the coaches make the decision. I am absolutely thrilled to be involved this weekend," he said. "I have just tried to focus on my own game, making sure my set-piece has been consistent and tried to be accurate and efficient around the park in everything I do."

North - It was touch and go

George North has praised the British and Irish Lions medical team after he was named in the starting XV for the first Test against Australia. North, who was a major doubt for the match with a hamstring injury suffered against the Combined Country XV, told Sky Sports: "It was all touch and go really but from minute one the support staff have been great. I have put in a lot of hours and lot of rehab to get back here. It is awesome to be named in the Lions squad."

Brisbane battles

Saturday's highly-anticipated first Test at the Suncorp Stadium will be the first time the British and Irish Lions have faced the Wallabies since the 2-1 series loss in 2001. The match will be the 21st meeting between the two rivals, with the Lions having racked up 15 victories. Australia have won five matches, including the first ever encounter back in 1899. And ahead of the clash in Brisbane, we look at the key battles where the latest encounter could be won and lost.

Backing the Lions

In his latest Lions diary, Miles Harrison meets up with some true gents of the game and is confident that the Lions are on the right track despite their shock 14-12 loss to the Brumbies.

He said: "Despite what happened in Canberra, and maybe even more so because of it, I'm sticking with the Lions - they can do this. But, of course, we haven't seen Australia yet and they haven't even officially revealed their hand."

Australia 13 British and Irish Lions 29

In the first Test match of the 2001 series, the British and Irish Lions got off to a flying start. It took Jason Robinson just two minutes to score in the corner - and this was followed by tries from Dafydd James and Scott Quinnell before the highlight of the game arrived early in the second half. Brian O'Driscoll picked up a pass and broke through two Aussie players before skipping past another as he raced 50 yards to score. To watch the highlights, then click here

Venue guide - Suncorp Stadium

Originally known as Lang Park, the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane has become a multi-purpose sporting facility. Shaped like a rectangle and with three tiers, the stadium boasts a capacity of 52,500 - and has hosted football, rugby league and rugby union matches, as well as concerts. The Reds, Brisbane Broncos and Brisbane Roar are all current tenants, while the Brisbane Strikers and South Queensland Crushers previously played there. In 2008 it was used for the final of the Rugby League World Cup.

Lions to pounce

In his latest betting blog, Sky Sports presenter Alex Payne is backing the Lions to come roaring out the blocks. He said: "I'm going to back the Lions in a fast start (4/5 to win the race to 10 points) and the Lions in the match result at 7/4 on. Having not seen either side at full steam, picking the margin is always more of a lottery so I would perhaps look at the alternative margin of the Lions by 1-12 at 11/8, though the price boost of Lions by 6-10 is appealing at 11/2."

Lions in Brisbane

The best of the pictures as the Lions prepare to face the Wallabies in Brisbane. Click here

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