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'I'm going on a Lions tour!': The dinner reservation ploy that confirmed Scott Quinnell's Lions selection

By Ned Lester
Leigh Davies, the Llanelli captain, celebrates with Scott Quinnell and Matthew Watkins. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Former Wales and British and Irish Lions No 8 Scott Quinnell’s talent for storytelling featured on The Good, The Bad & The Rugby’s live show this week, with the tale of his second British and Irish Lions selection being a particular highlight.


Quinnell’s professional rugby career lasted 15 years, where the No 8 racked up 52 Wales caps as well as four in the Welsh Rugby League side. In 2022, the 50-year-old set out on The Lion Speaks Tonight tour, where he delivered a number of tales from his playing days along with pictures and insights into the world of the Lions.

The charismatic Welsh legend delivered one of those stories for the GBR’s live crowd in Cardiff, leaving the audience in stitches as he described the stress of waiting to receive the letter of selection for the 2001 British and Irish Lions tour.


“The second one, I was so nervous,” Quinnell revealed, before chronicling his conversation with his wife Nicola. “Because you’ve done it before, there was an expectation of ‘I could go on this’. Before, you didn’t have any expectation at all, so that one, I was like ‘Oh my god’.


“The day before the letter was supposed to drop, I was like ‘Nic, I can’t take this anymore’. I couldn’t take it. She said ‘calm down!’ I said ‘no, I’m going to phone my father!'”

The ensuing back and forth between Mr and Mrs Quinnell ultimately did little to calm the Welshman’s nerves as he finally exclaimed “I’m going to phone my f*****g father!

“Now, what I should explain, my father was actually a selector on both f*****g tours I went on right. But, I was so f*****g nervous, I said ‘I’ve got to phone dad!’

Quinnell phoned his father, the great Derek Quinnell, claiming to want to take both parents out for a “slap-up meal” if he were selected for the tour.


“‘On a Tuesday night, in Five Roads, the restaurant gets really busy, the nice one,” He told his father.

“‘If I don’t book now then it’d be-‘ he said ‘book it for 7:30 I’ll see you there.’

Quinnell screamed with joy, “thank you, dad! I’m going on a Lions tour!”


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