Lions tour: Jared Payne willing to swap Lions jersey as he makes Eden Park return

Former Blues player Jared Payne says he will swap his first Lions shirt for a Blues one if it's offered after Wednesday's tour match.

A long-standing tradition of touring teams, particularly of Lions tours, is to swap shirts with the opposition on the field after the match.

Named to start against his former side, the 31-year-old said he could do with an updated Blues jersey.

"We'll see, we'll see, nah. We'll definitely swap, I think it'd be good for them to get one as well," Payne said.

"We'll definitely swap and I'll get an updated Blues jersey which I guess will be nice."

When Payne runs out on to Eden Park on Wednesday, it'll be exactly two weeks short of six years since he last played on the ground.

Ironically, that match against the Waratahs was the last time the Blues made the Super Rugby playoffs.

While Jerome Kaino is the only other player from that match day squad still playing for the Blues, Payne said he's looking forward to catching up with some old friends in the Blues rugby set-up.

Jared Payne
Jared Payne speaking to media in Auckland on Monday (Getty)

"Be good to see them. Saw a few of them obviously in Chicago and kept in touch with Ranger and a few of the other guys.

"[Rene] Ranger and Charlie [Faumuina], Jerome [Kaino], caught up with them and Steven Luatua, in Ireland."

Missing out on an opportunity to play at what was once his home provincial stadium in Whangarei last Saturday against the Barbarians, Payne's relished his homecoming, saying it's been great to catch up with old friends.

And despite being a member of a northern hemisphere touring party, the centre says he's overcome the feeling that he's the enemy.

"I haven't thought too much about it, my mates still give me a bit of gyp and that's all part of it.

"It's just another game, it's good to be back but you've just got to approach it as another game and not get too caught up in it - if there's 40,000 there at Eden Park it'll be rocking and there'll be plenty of noise, pretty cool to play in front of."

"I haven't really thought of myself as the enemy, it's just great to be a part of it."

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