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from Left field:

Players, fans unite behind the Lions

RUGBY-LIONS/All professional sportsmen talk about how important their supporters are but when it comes to the British and Irish Lions there really is a special bond.

Defying the credit crunch, up to 30,000 fans are expected to travel to South Africa to follow the Lions in their three-test series against the world champions.

Those fans, who spend most of their time in opposition as they follow England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland, are, like the players, united in one cause for a few weeks every four years.

They are united in colours too, as the red shirt of the Lions -- which adidas say will be by far their biggest seller of the year -- is everywhere.