A number of former Lions have given their verdict on what will ensue in the forthcoming British and Irish Lions tour in 2021, after Jason Leonard was appointed Chairman on Thursday.
Leonard, known as ‘Fun Bus’, went on three Lions tours between 1993 and 2001, earning five caps, and will now preside over the tour of South Africa, a series which he won in 1997.
Many former players and journalists have not only congratulated Leonard on this appointment, but highlighted what a good appointment this has been.
The 114-cap prop said he was “thrilled, honoured and humbled” on Twitter, after the news was announced:
Thrilled, honoured & humbled https://t.co/NHwUpSvopV
— Jason Leonard (@JasonLeonard114) April 18, 2019
The Lions is a unique concept, which requires players who are bitter rivals for four years to unite as one. Very few sports have a similar event, and that is why it is one of rugby’s proudest traditions. Leonard is a character that embodies Lions tours, and for many he is the perfect man in charge of the series in 2021.
Leonard’s 14-year playing career straddled both the professional and amateur era, and he was well known to withhold many of the social aspects that were associated with the game before 1995. In a tour that can last almost two months, success on the pitch is often a byproduct of the environment created off it, and Leonard is the perfect candidate to facilitate that.
Many have predicted an eventful series for the players with Leonard at the helm, and this is what many in the rugby world have said over his appointment:
What a time to be a player! For those blissfully unaware of future selection, fun, chaos and a whole lot of laughter awaits. Happy times. https://t.co/TiCVynU74w
— Martin Bayfield (@MartinBayfield) April 18, 2019
Jason Leonard in charge of a group going to beer and wine producing country in 2021 … what could possibly go wrong????!!!! Brilliant appointment. https://t.co/O3I8nBLnga
— Andrew McKenna (@talkMacca) April 18, 2019
— Richard Hill (@rhillrugby) April 18, 2019
— Andy Nicol (@AndyNic9) April 18, 2019
Congratulations Jason. A true legend of the game. https://t.co/scq9eCZ7Zw
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) April 18, 2019
— Andy Powell (@andypowell8) April 18, 2019
Congratulations. ? https://t.co/V9o4wuKu3P
— Scott Quinnell (@ScottQuinnell) April 18, 2019
— Jim Hamilton ? (@jimhamilton4) April 18, 2019
Welcome news, w the Lions top brass badly in need of younger blood: https://t.co/hIMaK3Pp6g
— Alastair Eykyn (@alastaireykyn) April 18, 2019
The Lions’ eight match tour of South Africa with be played in the summer of 2021, and will contain three test matches. They will be hoping to avenge their agonising series loss to the Springboks in 2009, and Leonard will be crucial in making sure that happens.
Watch the Heineken Champions Cup Final live on RugbyPass throughout Asia and Australia.