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Lions Tour One for the Record Books

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DHL Lions Coach Kids in Rugby

The British & Irish Lions rugby team stopped over in Hong Kong for a two-night only affair that left some 90 children with memories to last a lifetime.

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DHL courier Michael Pintabona delivers the test match balls ahead of DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour test match between the British and Irish Lions and the Wallabies on June 22 in Brisbane.

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The highly anticipated DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour saw the British & Irish Lions rugby team head out across Australia in June and July for some hard-hitting action, record-breaking crowds and a few surprises.

DHL is no stranger to the high-paced sport of rugby. As Official Logistics Partner of Rugby World Cup 2011, which brought teams from around the globe to New Zealand for an action-packed six-week tournament, we showed the world our superior ball-handling skills.

Michael Pintabona delivering the Test Match Balls ahead of the first DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour test match between the British & Irish Lions and the Wallabies on June 22 in Brisbane

This year, we carried on our tradition of bringing world-class rugby closer to its fans by supporting the British & Irish Lions as they toured down under to showcase their skills in a series of matches against both local and national teams.

Dubbed the DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour, this special event doesn’t happen every year and Australian rugby fans made certain not to miss out. And a good thing, too – not only did they witness a few, first-rate nail biters and a record-breaking show by Lions fullback Leigh Halfpenny, they also made history themselves as new stadium records were set for all three test matches.

Lions win and records break
The three-game test series against the Wallabies, the Australian national rugby union team, would certainly live up to its name – a true test of strength and endurance. And it was precisely what the Lions were looking for.

The two teams went head-to-head for the first time on June 22, with the Lions edging the Wallabies in a tight match at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Wingers George North and Alex Cuthbert both scored memorable tries while fullback Leigh Halfpenny proved the difference, hitting three penalties and one conversion. The final score was 21:23.

Match number two at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne was another story. There Australia scored a late try with minutes to go to move one point ahead and scrape by the Lions – known locally as “the tourists” – to level the series.

After two seriously close matches, the Wallabies and the Lions headed into the Sydney decider on July 6 with no clear favorite. But that would change quickly in what some consider one of the greatest Lions performances in their 125-year history. The British and Irish squad sealed the series victory with a 41:16 win.

Halfpenny was again at the center of it all, kicking 21 points and setting up two second half tries. His record-breaking performance – most points scored in a Lions match and most points scored in a series by a Lions player – earned him man of the match and man of the series honors. He was presented with the DHL Man of the Series award after the match, which included $3,000 toward his favorite charity.

Gary Edstein, SVP DHL Express Oceania, presents the DHL Man of the Series award to Lions fullback Leigh Halfpenny.
Records were broken off the pitch as well. Attendance at all three test matches made new stadium records: 52,499 in Brisbane, 56,771 in Melbourne and 83,702 in Sydney. Nearly 400,000 tickets were sold and some 5.5 million tuned into the action in Australia alone.

A tour 12 years in the making
The Lions last toured Australia 12 years ago in 2001 when 300,000 came out to watch ten matches in a year that saw records broken as well. All three of the test matches were sold out in minutes and it was the first time the Wallabies scored a victory over the British & Irish Lions in the best of three test series, winning 2:1.

The British have been making their way to the land down under since 1888, although the Lions first full tour was in 1989. As the sport grew in popularity and life was breathed into the Rugby World Cup, the future of the Lions was uncertain – albeit only briefly. The success of the 1997 and 2001 tours put any doubts to rest.

The 2013 tour kicked off in Perth on June 5 when the Home Union’s finest took on the Western Force for the first match of this 125th anniversary tour. Before crossing the equator, the Brits made a stop-over in Hong Kong on June 1 – a first-ever for the Lions players – to take on the Barbarians at Hong Kong Stadium, a match they won handily 59:8.

Delivering everything rugby
The DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour is yet another addition to the company’s extensive portfolio of rugby partnerships around the world.

Fans take part in DHL’s wild and wacky half-time entertainment at one of the test matches.
DHL’s support of rugby is almost as far reaching as its network, extending to local rugby teams and competitions in countries as far afield as the UK, US, Kenya, the Netherlands, South Africa and Fiji. DHL also successfully delivered rugby to the world in 2011 as the Official Logistics Partner of Rugby World Cup 2011

At each test match, two children were selected to run the match ball out onto the field before kick-off.
This wasn’t the first time DHL has partnered with the world-famous Lions on one of their tours. In 2005, the team travelled to New Zealand for the DHL Lions Series. Top-notch talent met southern-hemisphere sports lovers – just another success story, delivered by DHL.

“Rugby is about determination, teamwork and dedication, and these qualities resonate very strongly with DHL,” said John Pearson, CEO Europe and Global Head of Commercial, DHL Express.

“DHL is one of the world’s most iconic Rugby partners and a natural choice as the naming rights partner for the Tour,” said Bill Pulver, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Rugby Union.

Have a look around our website to learn more about just two of those partnerships, including the sponsorship of the Harlequins Rugby Union (England) and DHL Stormers (South Africa).

To see all the results and highlights, visit these websites:
DHL Australia 2013 Lions TourExternal Link / New Window
Official Website of Australian RugbyExternal Link / New Window

The DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour Schedule of Events

Local Kick Off Time
v Barbarians
Hong Kong
HK Stadium
v Western
Palersons Stadium
v QLD Reds
Suncorp Stadium
v Country
Hunter Stadium
v Waratahs
Allianz Stadium
v Brumbies
Canberra Stadium
v Wallabies
Suncorp Stadium
v Rebels
AAMI Stadium
v Wallabies
Etihad Stadium
v Wallabies
ANZ Stadium