Once Were Lions: The Players' Stories - Inside the World's Most Famous Rugby Team

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HarperCollins Publishers Limited, Apr 30, 2009 - Sports & Recreation - 369 pages
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The British and Irish Lions are one of the most famous and recognized teams in world 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 either New Zealand, Australia, or South Africa. Acclaimed sportswriter Jeff Connor interviews a host of players--from the oldest surviving Lions from the 1946 tour and the icons of the game to those who have become mere footnotes in history--and draws out the compelling human stories from each Test series. The ups and downs of tour life are captured--the pride of being a Lion, the numerous personal feuds, and the many humorous anecdotes, taking in the historic wins and the ignoble losses. Many Lions had their lives enriched by having worn the famous red jersey; an equal number had their lives changed irrevocably in the opposite direction. Full of previously unchronicled stories--Des O'Brien was away from home for nine months on the 1946 tour which almost cost him his marriage; while in 1966 one well-known English winger went off tour with a woman he met in a bar and reappeared only for the last two matches--the book will conclude with the disastrous 2005 New Zealand tour and trenchant opinions from the players on the controversial Clive Woodward. Thanks to a host of amusing and heartbreaking anecdotes about life with the Lions, the book will offer a fascinating insight into how touring, sport and life has changed in the last 60 years.

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About the author (2009)

Jeff Connor is a sports correspondent for the Mail on Sunday. He is the author of eleven books, including an entertaining account of the Tour De France, 'Wide-Eyed and Legless', 'Up Down and Under', a diary of the 2001 Lions Rugby Tour to Australia, 'Pointless, A Season with Britain's Worst Football Team', and 'The Lost Babes' about the survivors of the Munich air crash.

Martin Hannan is a sports journalist for Scotland on Sunday. An award-winning writer, his book Rock of Gibraltar, published by Mainstream, was widely acclaimed as one of the best racing books of 2004. His most recent book was a collaboration with ex-Celtic footballer Neil Lennon on his autobiography Man and Bhoy.

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