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Monday, April 06, 2009

Lions Memories - To be a Lion

Lions Memories - To be a Lion

The British and Irish Lions set sail for South Africa in a few months on what should be an epic battle of endurance and guile as they take on the World Champions in their own backyard.

The squad for this years tour has yet to be chosen, but there are already a few names pencilled in that are going to be certaintys to wear the famed red jersey.

To be a Lion, as described in this short video by former Lions greats, is an immense honour and opportunity that very rarely comes around in a players career.

Coming together from the four home nations, to play as one and become a band of brothers for a few weeks, going on a Lions tour is an experience like no other.

Willie John McBride, Gerald Davies, Lawrence Dallaglio, Gavin Hastings, and Gareth Edwards talk us through the experience and sense of pride associated with becoming a Lion, and having been one.

In the forthcoming weeks well be featuring random Lions clips from the past to help with the build-up for the historic big tour.

Posted at 7:08 pm | 53 comments

Viewing 53 comments

Anonymous April 06, 2009 7:12 pm

First comment !From portugal, i'd like to use this post to congratulate RD for the awsome work they do.This is the most visited blog in my pc.Cumps from a rugby player.

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Anonymous April 06, 2009 7:31 pm

" The SS of international Rugby"??? WTF!!??

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Martin Johnson's a T April 06, 2009 7:32 pm

..."it the SS of international rugby" - did I hear that right?A bit strange that that's the direction he went with the metaphor...

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Martin Johnson's a T April 06, 2009 7:34 pm

^^I guess that I did hear that right...

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Anonymous April 06, 2009 7:36 pm

It was the SAS of international rugby, not the SS!

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Anonymous April 06, 2009 7:44 pm

It really does sound like SS....although it could have been SAS...

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Flooz April 06, 2009 7:46 pm

this video sounds like a steven spielberg soundtrack without steven!

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doos April 06, 2009 8:12 pm

The Springboks are actually gonna hump them.. its going to be embarrassing.

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Jonathan April 06, 2009 8:23 pm

Hastings had a great tour in 1989 and an absolute shocker v. the All Blacks in 1993, costing us a series win in the 3rd test.

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Chinoce April 06, 2009 8:35 pm

I think it depends on what squad they take doosPlayers i wouldn't want to go aredanny cipriani (overrated and a shocking defender)gavin henson (unless hes 100% fit, which hes not)peter stringer (only good for munster)paul sackey (he offers nothing in attack)anyone else care to add?

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Jonathan April 06, 2009 8:39 pm

Julian White.....can scrummage and that is it.Coaches have their bias and this coaching team will favour Wasps, just like Geech took too many Scots in 1993, Henry chose too many Welsh in 2001 and Woodward had too many past their sell by English players in 2005. It is inevitable. I think the best picked squad was the 1997 Lions.

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Pedantic Gael April 06, 2009 9:14 pm

Just to be pedantic; the term 'home nation' has been defunct for a very long time and is as inaccurate and liable to cause irritation, if not offence, as terms such as the 'British Isles' on at least one side of the Irish sea for the majority of the inhabitants there.Be interesting to see what team emerges and it will be great to be able to watch the tour at a reasonable hour given that the time difference is mimimal with SA.

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Anonymous April 06, 2009 9:23 pm

"I think the best picked squad was the 1997 Lions" Could you post them?

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Abs7 April 06, 2009 9:50 pm

I think it will be a physical squad, and worsley will get in with heaslip and wallace!!

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Ref April 06, 2009 11:55 pm

Coooooool piece! Give us more!

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Anonymous April 07, 2009 12:43 am

If Cipriani goes i'll rip my own heart out

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Anonymous April 07, 2009 12:58 am

1997 squadCaptain and second row Martin Johnson (Leicester and England) Full backs Neil Jenkins (Pontypridd and Wales) Tim Stimpson (Newcastle and England) Wingers Nick Beal (Northampton and England) John Bentley (Newcastle and England) Ieuan Evans (Llanelli and Wales) Tony Underwood (Newcastle and England) Centres Allan Bateman (Richmond and Wales) Scott Gibbs (Swansea and Wales) Will Greenwood (Leicester) Jeremy Guscott (Bath and England) Alan Tait (Newcastle and Scotland) Fly-halves Paul Grayson (Northampton and England) Gregor Townsend (Northampton and Scotland) Scrum-halves Matt Dawson (Northampton and England) Austin Healey (Leicester and England) Rob Howley (Cardiff and Wales) Props Paul Wallace (Saracens and Ireland) Jason Leonard (Harlequins and England) Graham Rowntree (Leicester and England) Tom Smith (Watsonians and Scotland) Dai Young (Cardiff and Wales) Hookers Mark Regan (Bristol and England) Barry Williams (Neath and Wales) Keith Wood (Harlequins and Ireland) Second Row Jeremy Davidson (London Irish and Ireland) Simon Shaw (Bristol and England) Doddie Weir (Newcastle and Scotland) Back Row Neil Back (Leicester and England) Lawrence Dallaglio (Wasps and England) Richard Hill (Saracens and England) Eric Miller (Leicester and Ireland) Scott Quinnell (Richmond and Wales) Tim Rodber (Northampton & England) Rob Wainwright (Watsonians and Scotland)

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Anonymous April 07, 2009 2:46 am

shows what an improvement there has been in irish rugby that there was no player from the four provinces in the 1997 team...will be a lot different in 2009

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Anonymous April 07, 2009 3:16 am

Picks from CanadaFull backDelon ArmitageLee BryneWingShane WilliamsTommy BoweLuke FitzgeraldCenterBODJamie RobertsTom ShanklinFly halfROGStephen JonesAndy Goode (bound to be some disagreement with that one)9Danny CareBlair8 HeaslipJones7WallaceWorsley6Jason WhiteLockOconnellWales #4HinesLooseHayesSheridanHookFlaneryReesTightAdam JonesI don't know?

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Anonymous April 07, 2009 10:04 am

Pedantic Gael > I can't wait for the BRITISH LIONS tour featuring players from the HOME NATIONS, bring it on.

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Cornelius April 07, 2009 10:06 am

not the best picks if i'm honest canada...all you're wingers are too small - I'd have Cueto (England) and Tom Evans (Scotland). Shane William is also not in form at the moment. Goode is a CLUB player, nothing more. as for your 9s: blair was crap this six nations, and care is too young : Ellis (England) and Philips (Wales) are better.backrow, 8: yeah Heaslip is a beast, Powell (Wales), Haskell (maybe - cover for 6 as well) but not Jones - he's past it. 7: maybe add Rees if he's in form (England) 6: Croft (Eng)i think sheridan's a tight head, but might be wrong... Adam Jones if he shaves his hair, he looks fucking stupid.

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Anonymous April 07, 2009 10:09 am

I'd go:15.Lee Byrne/Rob Kearney/Dylan Armitage14.Tommy Bowe13.Brian O'Driscoll12.Jamie Roberts11.Shane Williams10.Ronan O'Gara/Andy Goode9.Mike Blair/Harry Ellis8.Jamie Heaslip7.David Wallace/Worsley6.Ryan Jones5.Paul O'Connell4.A.W Jones3.Andrew Sheridan/John Hayes2.Jerry Flannery1.There was some scottish guy, but i forgot his name

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Angus April 07, 2009 10:17 am

does anyone think wilkinson should go along, because i do. He will bring that exprience that you need and if he is on form he might make the test team

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Hook April 07, 2009 11:19 am

i feel pretty confident that the Lions selectors aren't going to send James Hook. A selection most people seem to agree with - unbelievably people think Goode should go instead. As a South African this is great news because, to my mind, Hook is the best flyhalf available. He would be a joy to watch on the fast fields of the highveld. With good backs outside him and the way he sets off his outside backs i'm glad he'll be at home but it will detract from the competition.

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Anonymous April 07, 2009 11:19 am

hola wenas no se ingles sorry solo espaol pero esta pagina es una pasada todos los dias entro aver si se cuelgan vidios nuevos yo juego a rugby en espaa en le belenos no es muy conocido jeje pero esta en division de onor B espero q se cuelgen ams vidios

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Anonymous April 07, 2009 11:28 am

my pick would be:15.Lee Byrne/ Rob Kearney14.Tommy Bowe13.Brian O'Driscoll12.Jamie Roberts/ Gavin Henson11.Shane Williams10.Steven Jones9.Mike Phillips8.Jamie Heaslip7.David Wallace6.Martin williams5.Paul O'Connell4.A.W Jones3.Euan Murray2.Jerry Flannery1.Andrew Sheridan /Gethin JenkinsPaul O'Connell As Captain

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David April 07, 2009 1:29 pm

lol guys, Lawrence isn't a Nazi, he meant the SAS. :D

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David April 07, 2009 1:41 pm

i won't name a squad, but some players that will surely go are as follows:-Mike Phillips (standout choice)Peel too if he's fit.-Stephen Jones is the form fly half, and they'l take O'Gara-Shane Williams (form hasn't been showstopping, still, he's shane williams and he hasn't been getting enough ball) and ofc Tommy Bowe. as well as some big guys like Mark Cueto. -BOD and Shanklin...n Flutey maybe?-Lee Byrne and Armitage-O'Connell, Wyn Jones, Heaslip, Ryan, and Nugget. Murray, Flannery, Gethin Jenkins for sure. possibly Sheridan.

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Anonymous April 07, 2009 1:56 pm

Sheridan is a loosehead asd you can see from the video! Sorry, but Joh Hayes isn't in the same class as Sheridan.

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Anonymous April 07, 2009 2:24 pm

mike catt went on tour in 1997 too. amazes me that simon shaw was on the tour and still going now

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canrugby April 07, 2009 3:15 pm

"PedanticGael", you incorrectly used a semicolon.

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Anonymous April 07, 2009 3:33 pm

Was thinking say you where born in UK or Ireland and played rugby for Italy or other country can you be selected for the British & Irish Lions team?

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Anonymous April 07, 2009 6:29 pm

best starting team to send out!!15.lee byrne14. shane williams13. brian o driscoll12.riki flutey (hope i spelt right) or max evans (cant make my mind up on this one....)11.tom evans 10.stephen jones9.mike phillips8.jamie heslip7.david wallace6.joe worsley5.paul o connell4.ian gough3.john "the bull" hayas2. jerry flannery1. rory bestfrom an irish point of few.....tell us what ye think?

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Chris Peacock April 07, 2009 6:31 pm

15: Probably lee byrne would prefer kearney14:Tommy Bowe/evans13:Drico12:Shanklin?/Roberts11:Shane William(still the best winger in the four nations despite form)10:Stephen Jones(O gara wrote himself out with the england match)9:Probably Phillips no one else stands out8:Heaslip7:Martin Williams6:Ferris (big boy to take on burger, spies and smit)5:o Connell4:A.W.Jones3:Sheridan?2:Flannery/Ross Ford1:Euan Murray

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Chris Peacock April 07, 2009 6:34 pm

Whoah bug mistake meant flutey instead of roberts

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Abs7 April 07, 2009 7:22 pm

I Think: Full Back Lee Byrne/Rob KarneyWing's Shane Williams (but i wouldnt start him) Tommy bowe, Tom evans or Cueto.OutCentreDrico Shanks InsideCentreRoberts/ Darcy.Fly Halfs Stephen jones/Ronan O'Gara/????Scrum HalfPhillips/Peel8Heaslip/ A. Powell7Wallace/ Williams6worsley/white5o'connol/Alun Wyn4donnach o calaghan3Adam jones/Ewan murray2Jerry Flannery/Rory Best1Gethin Jenkins/Andy SheridanI also think they might take 3 fly halfs but not sure who will get 3rd spot!!

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themull April 07, 2009 10:13 pm

Heres mine with subs included.Full back-Lee Byrne, KearneyWingers-Williams, Bowe, Sackey and FitzgeraldOutside Centres-O'Driscoll and ShanklinInside Centres-Roberts and DarcyOuthalfs-Jones, O'Gara and HookeScrumhalfs-Peel, Phillips, StringerNo8-Heaslip and Ryan JonesNo7-Wallace and WilliamsNo6-Ferris and WhiteLocks-O'Connell (Captain), Alan Wyun Jones, O'Callaghan, White(again) Props-Sheridan, Euan Murray, Hayes and Adam Jones,Hookers-Flannery and Rees

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Anonymous April 07, 2009 10:55 pm

Canada rebuttalAll Goode does is create tries when he plays, Sackey's against Wales, against Ireland, Flutey's long range try was started with an ingenious slight of hand by him on the ground. He's ugly and has a bad haircut, but he can play.Agree with Phillips in retrospect though. i'd take Foden as well, shades of Neil Back like under appreciation of this player.And Williams not in form? Perhaps, but he is the best attacking wing in the world, did you see what he did to SA last year, 4 guys didn't lay a finger on him where he scored down the touch line, and he had no space! Size is over rated (Neil Back, Jason Robinson, Dominici, etc...)I Love Jonny W, but his time is past and seats cannot be handed out on legacy.Powell is completely one dimensional and doesn't have the grit for SA rubgy.

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Anonymous April 08, 2009 12:41 am

Shane williamsAny questions?

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Anonymous April 08, 2009 9:45 am

Anyone from the rest of the world who doesnt know what the lions is/stands for etc and is intersted in rugby, watch the DVD of the 1997Lions Tour to South Africa.THE best sports documentary EVER made. Geech is a legend as coach and gives us some hope this time round.As for the team? i guarentee you things will change when the lions are out there.THe lions are the best of the best (hence Lols "SAS" comment) but also the players have to have the mental strength. the 1997 tour shows that you need a charater to go with the talent, Gibbs, Woody. LOL etc. good luck boys, it can be done!(ps pls dont play Williams on the wing, hes great going forward but the SAFFERS will look to squash him!)

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David April 08, 2009 10:47 am

Shane will definitely go on tour, as long as they don't give him the ball in really, really dumb situations. (like when he has nowhere to go except straight into cotact with Burger and Smit :) He'll continue to wreak havoc, as he did when Wales toured SA last year.Powell is a bit one dimensional, but saying he doesn't have the 'grit' is a bit harsh. He may still tour.

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Anonymous April 08, 2009 11:34 am

I am damp with excitment at the forthcoming Lions tour. 2-1 to the Lions... again!

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Anonymous April 08, 2009 12:01 pm

No, He did not say the SS of international rugby, he said the SAS, which is Great Britain's elite special forces, as in the best of the best

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Anonymous April 08, 2009 10:03 pm

The SAS of international Rugby... It does mean a lot.Well I hope they'd do a better job than their last tour in New Zealand. Which was pretty a shame.

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Anonymous April 09, 2009 3:22 am

Julian White isn't just a good scrummager..he's a pretty good puncher too!

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stoojay April 09, 2009 11:59 am

Without meaning to sound controversial or come across as anti-Irish (I am certainly NOT that), does anyone else think that the popular choice of back-rows (Heaslip, Ferris, Wallace) are somewhat over-rated? All three are top players and had a good 6N, but are there better starting combos against the Boks than these three? None have been Lions tourists before (at least I don't think DW has), and Ferris/Heaslip only have something like 30 caps between them. I know ideally you shouldn't have to pick a team selected to face the opposition and that the team members should be selected on their own merrit, BUT, remember that 1. we are not going up against a Northern Hemisphere pack here, it is the SPRINGBOKS pack and 2. we will be playing them in their own back yard and they will try to make it as Hellish as possible.Or maybe I am wrong and these are the best guys. Just putting it out there....

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Anonymous April 09, 2009 2:50 pm

being irish most admit that heslip souldnt start but should be sub. even though powell is 1 dimensional he is still a bull and hard to take down. ferris shouldnt go either...he isnt good enough yet..but as for david wallace...that lads an engine... wouldnt be a crime if he didnt start against the SPRINGBOKS

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Swampy April 13, 2009 8:37 am

this is a good video which remindes us on what mentality these legends have. I think that is the bond that these players will experience will get them over the line in south africa

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Swampy April 13, 2009 8:37 am

this is a good video which remindes us on what mentality these legends have. I think that is the bond that these players will experience will get them over the line in south africa

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Anonymous April 14, 2009 10:19 pm

So many people not picking Gethin Jenkins he was one of the stand out players of 6N absolute workhorse.

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wolonel May 01, 2009 12:18 am

SAS and SS are both killing machines.. Dallaglio is a noblord for thinking we're all playing rugby to emulate some kind of empirical strong man contest..boooo!

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Anonymous May 22, 2009 2:57 pm

does anyone know who wrote the backing track?

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Paul Gormley May 28, 2009 12:49 pm

Ok my predictions! bare with me!
Im a limerick man and a diehard munster supporter. While obviously Paulie was the man to captin the team, he IS the best second row in europe, handsdown. what makes him this? his determination to be the best he can be. anyone who knows about forward play in the game must surely admire him.
The key to beating the springboks is in the front 5. they have the best secondrow partnership in the world and surely paulie must be on top of his game along with jones(i reckon) to get the better of them. to do this, they need a) a good lineout thrower, and b) good lifters. this is where the lions are lacking. the injury to fla is a disaster, no point beating around the bush he was going to start at hooker. his lineouts were like BULLETS. the pace, the precision gave o connel and donnacha for munster and indeed ireland that extra protection. if you look at props, murray and jenkins are the two form props and are odds on to start, while i agree with this, i cannot believe that john hayes hasn been picked to tour. like all props the mature with old age. im not sayin hayes is a good scrummager-far from it- but they are playin a south africa team that reportedly want to recall both van der lind and botha from leinster and ulster. this means their scrum is worrying for them. i do not think hayes would have hindered the scrum. the reason i suggest hayes and he is widely regarded as the BEST one man lifter in europe. at 6"4 and 20 odd stone, being able to FLING o connell into the air would make it easier to disrupt lineout ball.
now onto the backs, the injury to tomas was a disaster, no more for o gara. the feeling around some parts of limerick for last 7/8 months or so, is that o gara hasnt been putting in the same type of performances he has done and i cannot see him being partnered by philips. also is tackling is more than suspect and surely will be targeted.
I am sure people do not agree with the above but its my opinion, but this is where it gets more creative. Hands up who knows keith Earls? people in munster and ireland surely do. but who else? this BOY has been ripping up the heineken cup and magners league all season. now people point out the leinster game in the semi which was terribly disappointing for a munster supporter. what back do you know at 20 years of age can perform well when he doesnt have the ball? he touched the ball less than 5 times such was the measure of performance of the leinster players and he made a few good breaks. you can be rest assured the people of south africa dont know the man from young munster. I would put him up against habana, it wont faze him one bit and i think he could do more damage than bowe or halfpenney.
As you know the second and third tests are being played at altitude and the legend that is rocky elsom says that the altitude does NOT affect your rugby. he says people who are not used to it, will come down with flu like syndroms. it does affext your fitness an hour into the game. this is something the lions should be wary of.
here is my team:
1.Euan murray
2.lee mears
3.gethin jenkins
4.alun-wyn jones
5.paul o Connell
6.Tom Croft
7.David Wallace
8.Jamie Heaslip
9.Mike Philips
10.Stephen Jones
11.Shane Williams
12.Jamie Roberts
13.Brian o Driscoll
14.Keith Earls
15.Lee Byrne

What do you think, i know the majority are irish and welsh but what can i say scotland and england havent done anything in years?

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