British and Irish Lions legend Brian O’Driscoll believes the 2017 tourists should play a fixture in the Pacific Islands en route to New Zealand.
O’Driscoll, who was part of four tours, said that the game should be played instead of one such as 2013’s against the Barbarians in Hong Kong.
“It’s probably more of a give than take for the Lions [to play in the Pacific Islands] but it would be great for the people there and it would probably take away from that commercial feel that the Lions are this commercial juggernaut,” he told The Times.
“It might be a clever move from the Lions’ point of view to play a game down there.”
The retired player’s stance comes after the All Blacks agreed to play a game in Samoa ahead of the 2015 World Cup, with IRB general manager for Oceania, William Glenwright, believing Irishman O’Driscoll’s call is a good one.
“It would be magic. Rugby is so important to the fabric of the three Pacific Island nations and the strength of the brands of teams like the All Blacks, the Wallabies and the Lions is so strong that to have those countries touring the Pacific Islands sends a message that they matter, that they are an important part of world rugby – and they are,” he said.
“It is difficult to persuade them to do it when there is no money for them, so you have to find another angle. The argument I’ll be using is that a match against a Pacific Island in the Pacific Islands won’t tick the finance box but it will tick the high performance box.
“It would be great to have that meeting and even just look at the possibility of it. It would send a really good message.”
- Planet Rugby