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Lions tap into spirit of 2009 for second Test jersey presentation

By Liam Heagney

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Warren Gatland has tapped into the emotive spirit of 2009 ahead of Saturday’s second Test in Cape Town, each of the 2021 Lions squad receiving their match jersey accompanied by a personal message from a member of the second Test team from twelve years ago in South Africa.

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The Lions dramatically lost that match, a brutal and bloody contest described as one of the most physical encounters ever, after Ronan O’Gara took Fourie du Preez out in the air and Morne Steyn sealed the 28-25 win with a last-gasp kick from 55 metres out. 

Tom Croft started as the Lions blindside that day and an extract from the message he sent to Courtney Lawes, this Saturday’s starting No6, read: “2009 seems a long time ago now. The opportunity we missed is still raw.  You boys have put yourself in a fantastic position to leave that shirt in South Africa in a better place for those boys to pick it up in twelve years’ time.”

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Jason Robinson’s history as a British and Irish Lion

Ahead 1-0 in the current series, a Lions statement on the jersey presentation said: “In pre-recorded videos the class of 2009 delivered a message to their 2021 counterparts, setting the scene for Saturday’s clash in Cape Town.

“History, passion and pride was the theme as the squad listened to each video before receiving their jersey from British and Irish Lions chairman Jason Leonard.

“Families of the matchday squad joined the presentation via Zoom as they did a week ago ahead of the first test. In that first Test jersey presentation, each player was presented with a personal message from loved ones back in Britain and Ireland as they received their jersey.”

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2009 British and Irish Lions: R Kearney (Leinster and Ireland); T Bowe (Ospreys and Ireland), B O’Driscoll (Leinster and Ireland), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues and Wales), L Fitzgerald (Leinster and Ireland); S Jones (Scarlets and Wales), M Phillips (Ospreys and Wales); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues and Wales), M Rees (Scarlets and Wales), A Jones (Ospreys and Wales), S Shaw (Wasps and England), P O’Connell (Munster and Ireland, capt), T Croft (Leicester and England), D Wallace (Munster and Ireland), J Heaslip (Leinster and Ireland). Reps: R Ford (Edinburgh and Scotland), A Sheridan (Sale Sharks and England), A-W Jones (Ospreys and Wales), M Williams (Cardiff Blues and Wales), H Ellis (Leicester and England), R O’Gara (Munster and Ireland), S Williams (Ospreys and Wales).

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Lions tap into spirit of 2009 for second Test jersey presentation

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