The romance and mystique of one of world rugby's greatest touring teams will be on show at Hong Kong Stadium on June 1, 2013, when the British and Irish Lions take on an international Barbarians XV in a historic clash. It was officially announced yesterday the touring team made up of players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales would stop over in Hong Kong on their way to Australia, and that banking giants HSBC would once again be the principal partner behind the Lions. British and Irish Lions chief executive John Feehan, speaking to the South China Morning Post from Ireland, said: 'This is thrilling news for Hong Kong. It is a fabulous city and has a great sevens tournament. I know there is a lot of interest in rugby in Hong Kong and that is what tipped the scales. 'I have been to Hong Kong and witnessed the Sevens,' Feehan said. 'You have a good stadium, and from the Lions' point of view, we also wanted a break in the journey down to Australia so as to adapt to the time change.' The Lions tour once every four years - traditionally to Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. Last year they toured South Africa, losing the series 2-1 to the reigning world champions. Hong Kong Rugby Football Union chairman Trevor Gregory said the visit was another 'great endorsement' for Hong Kong. 'I'm thoroughly delighted,' he said. 'We have put in a lot of effort and this is a great endorsement from the international rugby community for Hong Kong as a rugby venue. 'This is another milestone in our distinguished rugby history. We hosted the first offshore Bledisloe Cup tie in 2008, and now we will be hosting a game where for the first time the Lions will be playing the Barbarians outside the British Isles.' Next to the World Cup - and the HKRFU has set its sights on hosting a few matches of the 2019 World Cup being staged by Japan - the Lions are arguably the biggest thing in world rugby and convincing them to stop over in Hong Kong on their way to Australia can be regarded as a coup. 'They clearly had other options and it is great that they chose Hong Kong,' Gregory said. Argentina had also lobbied for the Lions to play a series of games - three provincial matches plus two tests - before flying to Australia. But the Lions committee apparently decided that would be too onerous. The All Blacks and the Wallabies will feature again in the Bledisloe Cup on October 30. By signing up the Lions and the Barbarians, the HKRFU is keeping its promise of trying every year to arrange another top-class international rugby event next to the annual Hong Kong Sevens. While it will be the first time the Lions will be visiting Hong Kong, it won't be their first trip to Asia. In 1950, after their first post-war tour of New Zealand and Australia, the Lions stopped in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) for a game on their way home. The Lions will fly into Hong Kong on May 27, play on June 1 and fly to Perth the following day. The Australian tour will include six provincial games plus three tests: in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Feehan revealed Asian players would be included in the Barbarians squad. 'It will be good for the game in Asia because while there will be the big names in world rugby, we also want to include local players, those from Hong Kong, China and Japan in the team,' Feehan said. Tradition dictates that players can only be invited to play for the Baa-Baas, a club based in Britain, and while the core of the team to play the Lions will come from South Africa and New Zealand, the suggestion that there will be room for Asian players will spark regional interest. 'I'm very hopeful that in 2013 Hong Kong will be able to have a player in that Baa-Baas squad,' Gregory said.