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'We can stage the biggest international events': Qatar wants to host B&I Lions match in 2025

By Finn Morton
(Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

This year’s FIFA World Cup will go down in history as one of the most exciting instalments of the prized competition, as it proved to the world that Qatar can host successful international events.

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But that’s not to say the tournament wasn’t without controversy.

The 22nd edition of Football’s biggest stage delivered unprecedented drama and history, but was marred by allegations of corruption and human rights concerns.

Many fans who made the journey to Qatar also paid top dollar for underwhelming accommodation – up to $400 AUD per night to sleep in shipping containers.

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However, despite the concerns of many ahead of the tournament, the Qatar World Cup was largely a success.

According to Sportsmail, Qatar has a desire to host other major international events in the future, including a British and Irish Lions match in 2025.

The Qatar Rugby Federation reportedly want to host a regular stop on the World Sevens Series, and potentially a Sevens World Cup.

But 12 years on from their clash against the Barbarians in Hong Kong, a Lions team steeped in tradition could make their way to the Middle East for a first-ever appearance in Qatar.

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“The success of the World Cup has shown that we can stage the biggest international events in this country,” an unnamed source told Sportsmail.

“Qatar is already due to stage the 2030 Asian Games and there’s talk of an Olympic bid in 2036 so we’re focusing on growing the Olympic sports.

“Rugby Sevens fits with that model and we have the infrastructure to stage global events.

“A full rugby World Cup would be beyond us, but we could stage a one-off Lions Test and a Sevens tournament. Sevens only needs one stadium and is completed in three days.”

The British and Irish Lions began their tour to Australia in 2013 with an emphatic 59-8 win over the Barbarians at Hong Kong Stadium.

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Legendary scrumhalf Mike Phillips and Alex Cuthbert starred in the coveted red jersey with two tries each, and Owen Farrell added 15-points off the kicking tea.

The convincing victory set the tone for the successful tour, with the Lions winning the Test series two-to-one over the Wallabies.

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Flankly 10 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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