Prime Minister Boris Johnson has risked the wrath of rugby fans after sending the British and Irish Lions a good luck message ahead of their first Test against South Africa on Saturday but failing to use the team’s proper name.
Warren Gatland’s side are set to open their three-Test series against the Springboks at Cape Town Stadium, and even Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, tweeted his support of the team leading up to kick-off.
Johnson, 57, attempted to follow suit with a patriotic post ahead of the opening Test, but supporters couldn’t help but notice his initial reference omitted one quarter of the squad.
That’s after the Prime Minister wished “the British Lions” all the best on their opening examination in Cape Town, temporarily forgetting the nine-man Irish contingent present among Gatland’s selection:
Johnson later made up for his gaffe by counting the Irish later in the video, posted via his official Twitter account.
He said: “Hi folks, this is Boris Johnson wishing the British Lions every possible success in your tour of South Africa.
“It’s fantastic that captain Alun Wyn Jones is back so fast from injury, and I know that the combined might of the English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish rugby union players will be an absolutely formidable opponent to anybody, even including the reigning (world) champions.
“Drive for the line, Lions! We’re all rooting for you, and good luck.”
The message might have had good intentions, but some struggled to overlook the Prime Minister’s mistake in leaving the Irish out of his earlier reference.
Some outraged fans even questioned whether it may mean the Irish should be supporting the Springboks.
Gatland’s men won’t be affected by such a minor matter from back home, however, with attentions firmly fixed on the oppositions that awaits them Saturday.
The Lions have enjoyed an almost pristine preparation phase in the build-up to Saturday’s Test, losing just once to a South Africa ‘A’ selection 10 days ago.
The tourists were forced into a late change after prop Wyn Jones gave way due to a shoulder injury on Saturday, with Scotland’s Rory Sutherland taking his place in the XV.