The Lord's Taverners Tribute to The Winning Lions - Historic Rugby Dinner

This event was held on 25 Apr 2013
The Lord's Taverners Tribute to The Winning Lions - Historic Rugby Dinner
Past Event


The Lord’s Taverners was treated to a special insight into what it takes for the British & Irish Lions to win a Test series against the rugby giants of the southern hemisphere – New Zealand, South Africa and Australia – at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel at the end of April, just before the 2013 squad was announced.

Only four Lions tours have ever returned home winners – 1971, 1974, 1989 and 1997 – and the Taverners paid tribute to those Winning Lions, led by their captains, John Dawes (Wales), Willie John McBride (Ireland), Finlay Calder (Scotland) and Martin Johnson (England). Sadly, Willie John was unable to travel, but appeared in a special four-minute video and nominated former England captain and fellow 1974 pack-member, Roger Uttley, to take his place on the captains’ panel.

That Q&A session, hosted by the BBC’s Jill Douglas, was the highlight of the night as the captains remembered how they gained the winning mentality. John Dawes’s 1971 side was the first – and remains the only Lions team – to win in New Zealand, while Willie John’s went through the tour unbeaten and won the Test series 3-0.

Finlay Calder recalled the mood in the Lions’ dressing-room after going one down in the new-styled three Test series, before Martin Johnson remembered the pressure of leading the first tour in the professional era when many thought the Lions had outlived their usefulness.

All four captains emphasised just how small the margins are between coming home a Lions winner and loser, as well as stressing how important the whole squad was to the well-being of the Test side and how the mid-week team often provided inspiration.

The special evening was hosted by Taverners president, Chris Cowdrey, as well as Jill Douglas, and other Lions included England’s Chris Ralston, Peter Wheeler and Lewis Moody, Ireland’s Ken Kennedy and Wales Mike Roberts, as well as international rugby referee Wayne Barnes and England cricket captain Graham Gooch.

Proceeds from this evening were shared between The Lord’s Taverners, the Bill McLaren Foundation and the Andy Ripley Prostate Cancer Appeal. The fundraising included an auction of a special limited-edition of 25 of one of Bill McLaren ‘Big Sheets’ – the 1977 Silver Jubilee between the British Lions and the Barbarians – which was signed by the exclusive Lions club, those four winning captains: Dawes, McBride, Calder and Johnson.

One of the evening’s many star turns came from the grassroots side of the game. Daniel Chinson, a young participant of the ‘Hitz’ rugby programme, joined former England captain and Lions flanker, Lewis Moody, to receive rugby kit from our award-winning kit recycling programme, LV= SOS Kit Aid.

Daniel was 15 when he joined Hitz, Premiership Rugby’s social inclusion project. He was struggling in school with his behaviour and was at risk of joining the wrong crowd.

He had never played rugby before joining Hitz and was instantly taken with the sport, which taught him to control his temper and challenge his considerable energy. Rugby meant that Daniel regained control of his life and avoided being excluded from school.

LV= SOS Kit Aid has worked with all 12 Hitz clubs, removing barriers to participation by providing young people with kit to take part in coaching sessions and progress onto local rugby clubs. 

Daniel said that LV= SOS Kit Aid had been vital in allowing him to attend local rugby trials. He is now playing for the London Irish Amateurs and thoroughly enjoys “smashing” opposing rugby players in games every weekend.

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Original event details:

The Lord's Taverners are delighted to be paying tribute to the winning Lions on Thursday 25th April at the Grange Tower Bridge

In a unique and historic event, The Lord’s Taverners looks ahead to this summer’s British Lions tour by celebrating the four Lions tours that came home victorious. A host of those conquering Lions will be present, led by their iconic winning captains.

John Dawes OBE 1971
– the first-ever Lions to win in New Zealand

Willie John McBride MBE 1974
– "The Invincibles" unbeaten in South Africa

Finlay Calder OBE 1989
– won the series after losing the first Test to Australia

Martin Johnson CBE 1997
– stunned South Africa by winning the first two Tests to take the series

Venue: Grange Tower Bridge, 45 Prescot Street, London E1 8GP

Tickets cost: £100 per person to include a three course meal with half a bottle of wine

Tables of ten: £950 

For more information please call the Events department on 020 7821 2828 or email us.

To download the flyer please click here.

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