Wallabies, All Blacks exploring possibility of ANZAC XV facing Lions in 2025

By Sports Desk November 02, 2022

Australia and New Zealand could field a combined ANZAC team against the British and Irish Lions in 2025, with talks ongoing between the two national governing bodies.

The Wallabies are set to welcome the Lions for a three-game tour for the first time since 2013, when the visitors won an enthralling series 2-1.

But the prospect of the hosts linking up with the All Blacks for an additional encounter could yet be on the table following preliminary discussions.

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan says discussions have started with counterparts at New Zealand Rugby, with provisional hopes to stage the match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"We've talked to the Kiwis about hosting an ANZAC team against the Lions in 2025, and they're considering the idea," he told the Daily Mail.

"I'm in no doubt it would be a belter, and we'd sell the MCG out with 100,000 fans. The best of the Wallabies and the All Blacks against the Lions would create enormous global coverage."

The prospect of the Lions facing an ANZAC XV would not be unprecedented, with the tourists previously facing a combined team in the final game of their 1989 tour in Brisbane.

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    In the encounter at Kingstown in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Afghanistan, propelled by stellar performances from Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Gulbadin Naib, defended a modest total to secure a historic 21-run victory. Afghanistan scored 148 for 6, with Gurbaz contributing 60 runs and Ibrahim Zadran 51, while Cummins took 3-28 and Adam Zampa 2-28. Australia, in reply, managed 127 runs, with Glenn Maxwell top-scoring with 59, while Gulbadin Naib took 4-20 and Naveen-ul-Haq 3-20.

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    However, Gulbadin Naib had other plans. In a crucial moment, Naib, with the assistance of Noor Ahmad, dismissed Maxwell for 59 off 41 balls. Noor Ahmad's spectacular low catch at backward point off Naib’s delivery halted Maxwell’s momentum and left Australia struggling at 106 for 6 in the 15th over, still needing 43 runs off 32 balls. Naib's exceptional spell yielded career-best figures of 4 for 20, including the prized scalps of Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, and Pat Cummins, ensuring Afghanistan's first-ever victory over Australia in any format.

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    Pat Cummins, Australia’s star pacer, showcased his prowess with a hat-trick across the 18th and 20th overs, replicating his feat from the previous match against Bangladesh. Cummins dismissed Rashid Khan, Karim Janat, and Naib in quick succession, injecting hope into the Australian camp. However, despite his efforts, Afghanistan managed to post a defendable total of 148 for 6. Afghanistan's defence began with Naveen-ul-Haq delivering a masterclass in the powerplay. He bowled Travis Head with a stunning delivery that clipped the middle stump and then dismissed Mitchell Marsh with a deceptive slower ball, leaving Australia reeling at 16 for 2 in three overs.

    Maxwell’s subsequent fireworks brought Australia back into the contest, but once he fell, the task became insurmountable. Afghanistan's bowlers, led by Naib and supported by Naveen and Omarzai, maintained relentless pressure, exploiting the St Vincent pitch's turn and variable bounce. Naib’s composed bowling under pressure, including his strategic use of slower deliveries, stifled the Australian lower order. His dismissal of Cummins with a slower cutter epitomized his tactical acumen, and the Afghan fans erupted in celebration as Naveen and Omarzai cleaned up the tail.

     

     

     

     

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    It was a rain-impacted encounter in Antigua on Thursday, with Australia ultimately prevailing on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, with the weather having ended play when they were on 100-2 while chasing a target of 141.

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