THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF RUGBY'S MOST ICONIC TOURING TEAM
The British & Irish Lions are one of the most famous and feted teams in the world of rugby. Every four years the Lions – selected from the national sides of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland – head to the southern hemisphere to do battle with rugby heavyweights New Zealand, Australia or South Africa.
This latest edition of the book covers the entire period of the Lions' existence, from the first recorded tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1888 to the tours of the modern era.
In this comprehensive volume, the authors Clem Thomas, Greg Thomas and Rob Cole trace the origins of the Lions, track the team's development and investigate the social and political issues that have helped shape one of the world's most formidable touring forces. They relive every Lions tour and Test match and celebrate the key moments that have made the Lions such a magical part of rugby folklore.
The British & Irish Lions: The Official History includes colourful recollections and insights into a remarkable rugby tradition, never-before published images and memorabilia courtesy of the World Rugby Museum and a detailed statistical section that records every single Lion to have proudly worn the red shirt, as well as the facts, figures and records of their endeavours.
About the Authors
The late Richard Charles Clement 'Clem' Thomas was an outstanding Swansea flanker who earned 26 caps for Wales between 1949 and 1959. He captained his country on nine occasions and was selected for the 1955 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa, where he played two Tests and captained the Lions against Natal. On the 1955 tour he was taken ill shortly after arriving in South Africa and was operated on for appendicitis, which caused him to miss the first 10 tour matches. He spent part of his recuperation on a farm and rejoined the tour in time to be selected for the final two Tests against South Africa. Another former Lion, Irishman Tony O’Reilly, felt that if ‘RCC’ had been available for all four games the Lions might have won the Test series rather than drawing it 2–2.
After retiring from rugby he became a highly respected journalist covering matches and tours all over the globe for nearly four decades. He worked for the Observer for 35 years and then The Independent on Sunday, and also co-authored the book Welsh Rugby. Sadly, Clem Thomas passed away one month before the publication of this book’s first edition in 1996. His son Greg Thomas took over the reins as author and has continued the recording of the Lions’ fortunes ever since.
Greg is a former Swansea and London Welsh back and a student international for Wales. In 1989 he emigrated to Australia where in 1995 he became the Wallabies’ Media Manager before his appointment as the senior media adviser for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. In 2004 he became Head of Media & Communications for the International Rugby Board in Dublin, and has proudly followed in his father’s footsteps in terms of the Lions by being appointed as Head of Media on two tours, South Africa in 2009 and Australia in 2013.
Rob Cole is a rugby writer with 35 years’ experience of covering Wales, The British & Irish Lions and the Rugby World Cup. Having launched his career at the Western Mail and Wales on Sunday, he joined the Sunday Express before launching Westgate Sports Agency in his native Cardiff. He has provided PR and statistical services to the WRU, the Principality Stadium, PRO12 Rugby and the Lions. A Trustee of the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame, he shared a room at Blundell’s School with Clem Thomas’ eldest son, Chris, worked alongside Clem in press boxes around the world and with Greg on the past two Lions tours.
About the Publishers
As the leading independent sports book publishers since our conception in 2003, Vision Sports Publishing strives to deliver stimulating and innovative books that we, as massive sports fans, would love to read ourselves.
Entirely committed to delivering high standards of writing, design and production, we pride ourselves on our reputation as a publisher of high quality sports books.
1/1000th: The Sports Photography of Bob Martin – Winner, Illustrated Book of the Year at the Cross Sports Book Awards and Winner, SPORTEL Book Awards 2016
The Arsenal Shirt – nominated for Best Illustrated Book at the British Sports Book Awards
The Unstoppable Keeper by Lutz Pfannenstiel – longlisted for William Hill Sports Book of the Year
Wimbledon 2013 – nominated for Best Illustrated Book at the British Sports Book Awards
The Glory Glory Nights: The History of Tottenham Hotspur FC in Europe – nominated for Best Illustrated Book at the British Sports Book Awards
Wimbledon: Visions of the Championships by Bob Martin and Ian Hewitt – Winner, Best Illustrated Book at the British Sports Book Awards
The Smell of Football by Mick ‘Baz’ Rathbone – longlisted for William Hill Sports Book of the Year, and nominated for Best Football Book at the British Sports Book Awards
Taking a Punt on My Life by Willie Thorne – nominated for Best Autobiography at the British Sports Book Awards
61: The Spurs Double – Winner, Best Illustrated Book at the British Sports Book Awards
Blood Sweat and Treason by Henry Olonga – longlisted for William Hill Sports Book of the Year, and nominated for Best Autobiography and Best Cricket Book at the British Sports Book Awards
Get In There – Tommy Lawton, My Friend, My Father by Barrie Williams and Tom Lawton Junior – longlisted for William Hill Sports Book of the Year, and nominated for Best Biography at the British Sports Book Awards
Twickenham: 100 Years of Rugby’s HQ by Iain Spragg – nominated for Best Illustrated Book at the British Sports Book Awards
Centre Court: The Jewel in Wimbledon’s Crown by John Barrett and Ian Hewitt – Winner, Best Illustrated Book at the British Sports Book Awards
Size: 280mm x 220mm
Weight: 2400 grammes
Illustrations: Photography throughout