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British & Irish Lions

Lions Rugby statement ahead of Sharks fixture

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Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The British & Irish Lions can confirm that a member of its management team has tested positive for COVID-19 following a lateral flow test as part of the Tour screening programme which took place on Wednesday 7 July. 

The individual and four close contacts – including two players and two members of staff – are being isolated and assessed at the team hotel. All members of the touring party have since been PCR tested.

This evening’s game against the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park will still take place provided the subsequent round of PCR testing returns negative results later this afternoon. Should this be the case, the kick-off time for tonight’s game will be adjusted to 8pm (SAST) / 7pm (BST).

“We have followed all necessary precautions since the start of the Tour, which included regular testing and rigorous COVID-19 counter measure planning and protocols,” said Ben Calveley, Managing Director for the British & Irish Lions.

“Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of the entire touring party, which is why we quickly isolated the players and staff upon receiving the news of the positive result.

“Everyone has subsequently been lateral flow and PCR tested. The Medical Advisory Group await the results of the PCR testing in order to make a decision on tonight’s game.

“The five individuals effected will be monitored closely during isolation and receive the bestlions possible medical attention as we await the results of their PCR tests.

“Further updates will follow in due course.”

Source – British & Irish Lions


British & Irish Lions

Tributes pour in for Lion and rugby legend Eddie Butler

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Tributes have been paid to British & Irish Lion #601 and iconic broadcaster Eddie Butler, who has died aged 65.

Butler was called up to The British and Irish Lions squad that toured New Zealand in 1983, replacing Jeff Squire, and made one appearance.

The No.8 played 16 times for Wales and captained them on six occasions, scoring two tries.

He was a legend at his club side Pontypool, captaining the team between 1982 and 1985, and, after retiring from rugby, he carved out a remarkable career in journalism, broadcasting and commentary.

Tributes have already started pouring in to honour a great of the game, with World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont calling Butler one of the finest commentators of his time.

After beginning his journalism career with the Sunday Correspondent in 1988, Butler began writing for The Observer in 1991.

He joined BBC Wales in 1990, starting his commentary career alongside Bill McLaren before becoming the lead BBC rugby commentator.

His partnership with former Lions and England hooker Brian Moore received widespread acclaim and his commentary partner tweeted that he admired Butler as a broadcaster and as a man.

Butler’s montage-accompanying prose was the backdrop not only to sporting events but to some of the biggest news stories of the last two decades.

The final one he made marked the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

He commentated on Olympic sports, as well as the Invictus Games, and also put his voice to montages for the BBC’s NFL highlights programmes. He also published three novels and two non-fiction books.

Two-time Tour captain and fellow broadcaster Sam Warburton said: “Stunned at the news and passing of Eddie Butler. Thoughts with his family.

“What an amazing contribution to rugby and broadcasting. A privilege to have played and co-commentated with his voice.”

Scott Quinnell, who toured with the Lions in 1997 and 2001, said: “Absolutely devastated to hear the news. Eddie was such a wonderful man. Always loved our chats especially over a pint. Love and thoughts to Sue and the family.”

Source – British & Irish Lions


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Tommy Bowe to become trustee of The British & Irish Lions Charitable Trust

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Tommy Bowe has been announced as a trustee of The British & Irish Lions Charitable Trust.

He will join Gavin Hastings, Richard Hill and Sam Warburton as trustees. The Trust exists to connect with, nurture and support Lions players in need whilst also supporting a host of charities annually.

Tommy is #Lion752, having represented the Lions on the 2009 and 2013 tours to South Africa and Australia respectively. He enjoyed a lengthy and hugely successful international career with Ireland and played his club rugby with Ulster and Ospreys. He was nominated as a trustee by the IRFU to succeed Fergus Slattery.

“It’s such a privilege to be made a trustee of The British & Irish Lions Trust and I feel incredibly honoured,” said Bowe. “The Trust does so much good work and I really look forward to getting involved, helping Lions in need and working on various charity initiatives.”

British & Irish Lions MD Ben Calveley said: “People know the Lions best for what we do on the field, but what we do off the field is of equal importance.

“The British & Irish Lions Charitable Trust does so much important work for those in need. Tommy is a wonderful addition to the Trust and as a trustee I have no doubt that he will help to drive forward this good work.”

Gavin Hastings, Chairman of The British & Irish Lions Charitable Trust said: “One of the key aims of The British & Irish Lions is to have an impact off the pitch, and we are really proud and pleased to continue supporting our Lions post retirement through The British & Irish Lions Charitable Trust.

“Tommy is a great addition as a trustee – he will bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm and I know I speak for my fellow trustees when I say that we’re really looking forward to working with him. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Fergus Slattery who has been great to work with on the Trust and I wish him all the best for the future.”

Source – British & Irish Lions


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Lions and Ireland hooker Ken Kennedy dies aged 81

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Former British & Irish Lions tourist Ken Kennedy has died aged 81.

Kennedy was part of the 1966 Tour of Australia and New Zealand, and the invincible 1974 Tour of South Africa.

The hooker amassed 45 caps for Ireland and was highly regarded for his world class scrummaging ability.

Kennedy was born in Rochester, England and studied medicine at Queen’s University in Belfast where he qualified to be a doctor.

Away from rugby, Kennedy continued to practice as a doctor in London while playing for London Irish.

Kennedy made his Test debut for Ireland in January 1965 against France at Lansdowne Road, with the game finishing a 3-3 draw.

The next year, the hooker was selected for the 1966 Tour, where he picked up four Test caps and scored a try in an 11-8 win over Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground.

Kennedy missed the 1968 Tour through injury but returned as part of the squad that returned unbeaten from South Africa in 1974.

The front rower also stepped in as unofficial medic on Tours thanks to his medical degree.

Kennedy’s final Ireland cap came in a 32-4 loss away in Wales in 1975, retiring at the time as the world’s most capped hooker.

Source – British & Irish Lions


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