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British And Irish Lions Selected For South Africa Tour

21 Apr 2009

British And Irish Lions Selected For South Africa Tour

The 37-man squad of the British and Irish Lions rugby team was announced today, April 21. In what will be seen as a surprise in some quarters, Ireland’s Paul O’Connell has been handed the captaincy over his countryman, and Ireland’s Grand-Slam winning captain, Brian O’Driscoll. O’Driscoll – who captained the Lions in 2005 – fared better than the other home nations captains in that he at least made the squad; England’s Steve Borthwick, Wales’ Ryan Jones and Scotland’s Mike Blair are not among the final selection.

The Lion’s last tour to South Africa was in 1997 when Martin Johnson led the tourists to a 2-1 series victory. That side, as is this latest, was coached by Ian McGeechan who was also a part of the most successful Lions team in history. In 1974, under captain Willie John McBride, the Lions travelled to South Africa and became the first touring rugby side ever to go unbeaten – playing 22 games and winning three Tests and drawing a fourth. McGeechan will be hoping for a similar result 35 years on, but perhaps without the level of ferocity and violence that beset that legendary tour.

Brian O’Driscoll, Martin Johnson and Willie John McBride are all contributors to Genesis’ signed limited edition – The Lions: The Complete History of the British and Irish Rugby Union Team. Written by David Walmsley and featuring original text by 27 Lions and opposition captains and hundreds of photographs and items of memorabilia sourced from museums and collections around the world, The Lions is the most complete history of the world’s most famous rugby team that’s ever been produced. It covers every tour from 1888 up to and including the 2005 tour to New Zealand, as well as previously ‘lost’ tours to Argentina between 1910 and 1936, and games with the likes of Brazil and Ceylon.

For more information, click here.

The full squad of the 2009 British and Irish Lions is as follows: Lee Byrne (Wales), Rob Kearney (Ireland), Shane Williams (Wales), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Ugo Monye (England), Luke Fitzgerald (Ireland), Tommy Bowe (Ireland),Tom Shanklin (Wales), Jamie Roberts (Wales), Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland), Keith Earls (Ireland), Riki Flutey (England), Ronan O'Gara (Ireland), Stephen Jones (Wales), Mike Phillips (Wales), Harry Ellis (England), Tomas O'Leary (Ireland), Gethin Jenkins (Wales), Adam Jones (Wales), Andrew Sheridan (England), Phil Vickery (England), Euan Murray (Scotland), Jerry Flannery (Ireland), Lee Mears (England), Matthew Rees (Wales), Paul O'Connell, capt (Ireland), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), Donncha O'Callaghan (Ireland), Nathan Hines (Scotland), Simon Shaw (England), David Wallace (Ireland), Stephen Ferris (Ireland), Alan Quinlan (Ireland), Joe Worsley (England), Martyn Williams (Wales), Jamie Heaslip (Ireland), Andy Powell (Wales)

'If you could dislocate this one Tans...' Brian O'Driscoll and Tana Umaga before the 2005 Test series begins.

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