10 Super Rugby players in Country squad for Lions

Ten Super Rugby players have been named in a 23-man Combined Country squad to face the British and Irish Lions in Newcastle on June 11.

Combined Country coach Cam Blades said his coaching staff had the task of trimming the squad from an original group of 43 players drawn from New South Wales and Queensland rural regions.

Among the selections are Queensland Reds flanker Beau Robinson and Western Force lock Phoenix Battye.

“We had such a massive pool of players that fitted the criteria,” Blades said.

“Out of the 43 we had to figure out who we thought would be the likely starting 15 and then had to look at what the bench options would be.

“With Super Rugby still active until we play the Lions there still could be some more movement in the squad, and so we’ve been very mindful of that.”

Blades said he has been negotiating with the five Australian Super Rugby clubs about which players would be available.

“Depending on what changes are required going forward there could be a few tricky decisions still to be made,” he said.

“The challenge isn’t just to make the team, the challenge is to take on the Lions and see where we can take it.”

Blades said the Lions, who arrive in Perth early Monday after playing the Barbarians in Hong Kong this weekend, can anticipate no easy time against his combined team.

“What the Lions can expect is a bunch of blokes who are going to come together with a common goal of absolutely taking the game to them,” he said.

“We’ll certainly be going in there to display our skill set while being mindful of trying to shut down a lot of the threats that the Lions possess, and give ourselves the opportunity to play a bit of rugby and see if we can pull off an historic win.

“We have plenty of guys in the squad at amateur level who will get the once-in-a-rugby-lifetime chance to pit themselves against professionals that are all hardened rugby players.

“It’ll be a massive occasion and a massive challenge.”

Combined NSW/Queensland Country squad –


Nathan Trist, Dale Ah-Wong, Lewie Catt, Tom Cox, Alex Gibbon, Ben Greentree, Tereta-Junior Siakisini, Angus Roberts, Adam McCormack, Michael Snowden


Jarrad Butler, Tim Davidson, Trent Dyer, Beau Robinson, Phoenix Battye, Blake Enever, Richard Stanford, Rikki Abraham, Dylan Evans, Haydn Hirsimaki, Tim Metcher, Tom Kearney, Josh Mann-Rae

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