Tuesday 11 December 2018

The Lions of '97

Where are they now?

Former Irish captain Keith Wood has swapped the rucking and mauling for the more serene past time of beekeeping
Former Irish captain Keith Wood has swapped the rucking and mauling for the more serene past time of beekeeping

The 1997 Lions provided moments of brilliance, high emotion and nerve-tingling drama during their memorable South African adventure.

It culminated in a 2-1 Test series triumph against the world champion Springboks -- an amazing success story that defied most pre-tour predictions. Here we recall the heroes of '97, and where they are now.

MARTIN JOHNSON (captain)

Captained the Lions again in 2001 (Australia) and returned Down Under to skipper England to World Cup glory two years later. Appointed England manager last year.

NEIL JENKINS

Went on to score more than 1,000 points for Wales and is now part of the national squad coaching staff specialising in kicking.

TIM STIMPSON

A Heineken Cup winner with Leicester, he subsequently went into player/coaching with Nuneaton and Nottingham rugby clubs. He also acts as an ambassador for several charities.

ALLAN BATEMAN

The former Wales centre is still playing amateur rugby at the age of 44, latterly lining up for Bridgend club Heol-y-Cyw. Works in Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

NICK BEAL

Remains closely involved with English Premiership side Northampton, the club from where he won England and Lions honours, serving as a non-executive director. Works as an independent financial advisor.

JOHN BENTLEY

Works as community marketing manager for Leeds Carnegie and is also a successful after-dinner speaker. Played and coached his home town club Cleckheaton during run of promotions through the National League system.

IEUAN EVANS

Continues to enjoy a successful career in rugby as a television and radio pundit. Retired from playing in 1999, having helped Bath win the Heineken Cup a year earlier.

SCOTT GIBBS

Famously scored Wales's winning try that denied England the Five Nations title at Wembley in 1999. Still involved in rugby on radio and tv, while he was a driving force behind the Help for Heroes charity match earlier this season, and also recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for charity with South Africa's 1995 World Cup-winning captain Francois Pienaar.



WILL GREENWOOD

Highly respected rugby analyst and pundit who is in demand on television and radio. Member of England's 2003 World Cup-winning team, and part of the RFU delegation that is bidding to stage the 2015 World Cup in England.

JEREMY GUSCOTT

Has worked as a BBC rugby pundit for several years alongside the likes of Jonathan Davies and Andy Nicol.

ALAN TAIT

Current defence coach of Guinness Premiership club Newcastle, having previously held a similar role with the Scotland national squad.

TONY UNDERWOOD

Airline pilot who has worked for Easyjet and Virgin Atlantic. Lives in the French town of Evian-les-Bains, near the Swiss border.

PAUL GRAYSON

Current assistant coach at English Premiership club Northampton, having helped them land the Heineken Cup as England's second winners of that tournament nine years ago.

GREGOR TOWNSEND

Still involved on the international stage. Appointed as Scotland backs coach four months ago by recently departed head coach Frank Hadden.

AUSTIN HEALEY

A Heineken Cup winner with Leicester, whose current portfolio includes work as a rugby pundit. Father of four daughters, he also reached the quarter-finals of BBC's 'Strictly Come Dancing' series last year with partner Erin Boag.

ROB HOWLEY

His post-1997 playing career included Premiership title and Heineken Cup glory with Wasps. Employed as Wales attack coach, he is part of the Lions coaching team in South Africa.

MATT DAWSON (Above)

Works extensively for the BBC, fronting his own radio programme on rugby and is also a team captain on the long-running television series 'A Question of Sport'.

TOM SMITH

Enjoyed a successful career with Scotland and Northampton and retired from playing a couple of weeks ago after his side beat Bourgoin in the European Challenge Cup final.

JASON LEONARD

Went on to win more than 100 caps for England and now enjoys a high-profile role off the pitch in various guises, including an administrative one with the RFU.

GRAHAM ROWNTREE

Former Leicester prop works with Martin Johnson and the England set-up as scrummaging coach, a role he will fill on this summer's Lions tour.

DAVID YOUNG

Highly respected head coach of Cardiff Blues, steering them into this season's Heineken Cup semi-finals and victory in the EDF Energy Cup final.

PAUL WALLACE

An unsung hero during the 1997 tour, making the Test team, he can now be seen regularly on Sky Sports offering his views during their rugby coverage.

KEITH WOOD

A successful businessman, who is also in demand through the rugby media. The former Irish captain does work for the BBC and has been a columnist for the Evening Herald. Hobbies include beekeeping.

BARRY WILLIAMS

The first player to make 100 appearances for the Ospreys, he retired from playing last year following a number of operations. Appointed the first Ospreys ambassador, working with the Welsh region entertaining corporate clients. He also coaches at Llandeilo Rugby Club.

MARK REGAN

Likely to go into coaching next season after retiring from playing with Bristol at the end of the current campaign. England World Cup squad member in 2003 and 2007.

JEREMY DAVIDSON

Like his fellow Irishman Wallace, a surprise Test team inclusion 12 years ago who rose to the challenge superbly. Now in coaching, having worked with French club Castres, but set for a return to his former province Ulster as assistant coach.

SIMON SHAW

Will return to South Africa this year for his third Lions tour. Still packing down for Wasps and England in the second row.

DODDIE WEIR

Enjoys a successful role on the after-dinner speaking circuit. A regular attendee at Scotland internationals, who also does corporate work with his former club Newcastle.



RICHARD HILL

Retired from playing with Saracens last year, but remains involved with the club. Recovered from injury to play in the 2003 World Cup semi-final and final for England.

NEIL BACK

After winding down his World Cup-winning playing career, former Leicester flanker Back is now head coach of Leeds Carnegie, this season's National League One champions.



ERIC MILLER

After retiring from rugby, he had a go at Gaelic football briefly for Dublin and also coached Old Wesley Rugby Club. Works as a sports consultant and also writes for the Evening Herald.

LAWRENCE DALLAGLIO

Brought the curtain down on an illustrious World Cup-winning career last year by helping Wasps win the Guinness Premiership title at Twickenham. Also a double Heineken Cup winner. Now a key off-the-field player at Wasps.

TIM RODBER

Important member of Northampton's Heineken Cup-winning team, he has carved out a hugely successful business career in the corporate information sector, spending time working as a chief operations officer in America.

SCOTT QUINNELL

Won more than 50 caps for Wales and toured again with the Lions in 2001. Has coached at senior club level in Wales, and can be seen regularly as a Sky Sports rugby pundit.

ROB WAINWRIGHT

Former Scotland captain runs a farm and bed and breakfast on the Hebridean Isle of Coll, which has a population of just 160.

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