Clever to lead All Stars against Lions

Mon, 04 Feb 2013 12:08
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Former Lions loose forward and current United States Eagles captain Todd Clever looks set to captain the North American All Stars team in April.

Former Lions loose forward and current United States Eagles captain Todd Clever looks set to captain the North American All Stars team in April.

The Golden Lions Rugby Union on Monday confirmed the matches against the All Stars - to be played in Irvine, California, and Vancouver, British Colombia - as part of their Lions Challenge series.

The South African outfit will play the All Stars on April 13 at California State University's Titan Stadium and a week later, on April 20, in Vancouver in a series named the Rugby Showdown.

In confirming the dates of the tour, GLRU Chief Executive Officer Manie Booysen said they were "very excited" about the trip, as it is a golden opportunity for the Lions to experience rugby in a new region.

The North American All Stars team will be coached by US Eagles coach Mike Tolkin in California and Canada's national coach, Kieran Crowley, will take over in Vancouver.

The team will be made up of leading US Eagles and Canadian Test players, based in North America, as well as a number of world star players plying their trade in Japan and other professional competitions.

Clever will captain the team, subject to a release from his Japanese club.

"We can expect to see players like Eagles stars Brian Doyle, Chris Biller and Toby L'Estrange and Canadian stalwarts like Chauncey O'Toole, John Phelan and Sean White combining their skills with Japanese-based professional superstars like Todd Clever and George Smith [Australia], all who have been invited to play and are awaiting permission from their clubs,” tour promoter Willem Strauss said.

Also accepting an invite to feature in the match is former Springbok wing Stefan Terblanché, now the CEO of the SA Legends Association and a regular player on the Legends circuit.

Commenting on the first leg of the tour, CEO and President of Rugby Operations at USA Rugby, Nigel Melville, welcomed the South Africans with open arms.

"We look forward to the visit of the Lions and hope that the local rugby community will go along to the game and watch a professional team in action,” he expressed.

"I know that the American players selected to play against the Lions are excited to be provided with this great opportunity to test their skills against top class professional players.”

Rugby Canada's General Manager Rugby Operations and Performance, Mike Chu, is also very excited for the Lions to arrive in Vancouver.

"This is an exciting opportunity for several top Canadian players to get exposure to high quality rugby," Chu said.

"The Lions are going to provide a tough challenge and that is just the sort of rugby our players need more of.

"To play here in USA and Canada is even more exciting as it brings professional rugby to our shores and allows fans an opportunity to watch Super Rugby players in action,” Chu added.