Lions chairman Jason Leonard Life in Pictures – Rugby World magazine


The England stalwart and British & Irish Lions chairman strolls down reminiscence lane

Lions chairman Jason Leonard Life in Footage

LEADING THE CHARGE (1997, above)

“That is the primary sport of the 1997 British & Irish Lions tour and I used to be captain as a result of Martin Johnson was injured. We put out a powerful aspect in opposition to Japanese Province and gained – it was an excellent begin. I’m laughing on the image as a result of it seems like Lawrence Dallaglio is about to fall flat on his face!

“It was most likely one of the iconic Lions excursions, particularly due to the Residing with Lions documentary, which was fairly uncooked and fairly good.

“The largest testomony to that’s I’ve obtained mates who nonetheless play at 50-plus, and earlier than taking place the rugby membership they’ll watch clips from it. Like (Jim) Telfer’s ‘That is your Everest’ speech, or (Ian) McGeechan’s speech about ‘In 30 years’ time, while you see one other Lion on the opposite aspect of the highway, you’ll simply take a look at one another.’

“Even saying it I can really feel the hairs on the again of my arm.”

Jason Leonard Life in Pictures

2001: Danny Grewcock and Jason Leonard for the Lions (Getty)

THE RED SEA, 2001

“Loads has been stated in regards to the Australians popping out for this primary Check and seeing a sea of pink. On this image is myself, Danny Grewcock and Gordon Bulloch. You possibly can see Phil Vickery and Martyn Williams on the again.

“This was Danny’s first Lions tour, so that is necessary for him. It was in regards to the pleasure and elation for him but additionally for our followers, coming off the pitch; you can see what it means to them. I believe I’m type of saying to Danny, ‘Take a look at this, that is for you.’ And, after all, Lions followers are completely good.”

Brian Moore

1991: Rugby World Cup, France v England (Getty Pictures)

ALLEZ, LES ROSBIFS, 1991

“That is the 1991 Rugby World Cup semi-final in on the Parc de Princes. We had kicked, Will Carling had caught the ball, and he had been pushed over by the English forwards to attain the attempt.

“As you may see, my response is relatively sedate in comparison with Brian Moore! I don’t know what Brian was pondering of on the time – it was such a charged environment. That was extra to do with the followers.

“I used to be by no means a giant celebrator. I used to be at all times taught as a child that should you rating, you return and also you restart the sport once more.

“It was my first World Cup. The overriding reminiscence is of bitter disappointment at shedding the ultimate, as we had a crew that might have gained it. It takes away from Australia a bit, who have been an excellent aspect and worthy winners, however we might have gained if we’d caught to a forward-orientated sport.”

Lions scrum

1993: Scrum time in New Zealand (Getty Pictures)

A PACK OF LIONS, 1993

“That is me at tighthead on the 1993 Lions tour. The coaches felt they wanted a change at prop. I performed fairly a bit at tighthead as a junior, so didn’t really feel utterly misplaced. I don’t suppose taking part in your first actual Worldwide there in opposition to the All Blacks in New Zealand is one of the best development for that.

“They’d the start of an excellent entrance row in Craig Dowd, Sean Fitzpatrick and Olo Brown, probably the greatest tightheads on the earth. That unit performed collectively for a substantial size of time.

“That is the second Check once we gained convincingly in Wellington. On the finish the group wasn’t too joyful. Sadly, by the third Check we had so many accidents that we have been held collectively by sticky tape.”

Atlas Foundation

2019: Lions chairman Jason Leonard with youngsters (Atlas Basis)

CHARITY POWER, 2019

“After retiring, I’d do charity occasions and I used to be calling mates and work colleagues and purchasers for an occasion, a dinner, a golf sport or no matter it’s.

“For a lot of years, I selected small, native charities they usually tended to be kids’s hospices, actually. It was good doing that. However after a couple of years we began elevating fairly massive sums of cash and somebody stated, ‘Why don’t you create your personal basis?’

“So I did about 5 years in the past, I referred to as it the Atlas Basis. The concept is to assist underprivileged youngsters. This can be a challenge to construct a college in North India’s mountains. Mucking about with the children, they’d ask how sturdy you might be.”

Prince harry rugby

2015: Leonard with Prince Harry (Getty Pictures)

SHOCK AND AWE, 2015

“That is me and Prince Harry on the World Cup in 2015 (when Leonard was RFU president). Everybody had such excessive hopes for England. I performed in a house World Cup (1991), and in a closing at residence. So I do know the pressures – you simply can’t get away from it.

“But it surely confirmed that the UK and Eire are incredible locations for sporting occasions. It was financially profitable, everybody beloved it, the suggestions was immense. When you see a World Cup in England, Scotland, Eire, Wales or France, will probably be a incredible competition of rugby.”

Lions chairman Jason Leonard

2004: Harlequins lifts the Parker Pen Problem Cup (Getty Pictures)

QUINS FAREWELL, 2004

“My final sport for Harlequins after 14 years. It was fairly a tricky yr for me as I’d been away for the World Cup and the season had began by the point we got here again. I shared the season with the opposite (Quins) props, so I didn’t get as a lot sport time as I wished.

“This was the ultimate of the Parker Pen Cup in opposition to Montferrand. We gained 27-26. I got here on with a couple of minutes to go, down by six factors.

“Straightaway I used to be concerned in a struggle. Afterwards, the man hit me from behind twice and obtained a second yellow. We kicked to the nook, scored underneath the posts, obtained the conversion and gained the sport. It’s a fantastic membership and I’ve so many great recollections.”

Clive Woodward

2003: Clive Woodward and Leonard (Getty Pictures)

WITH SIR CLIVE, 2003

“That is on the captain’s run, on a Friday earlier than taking part in Wales, earlier than heading to the World Cup.

“I used to be captain and we had loads of younger gamers within the crew and, to a sure diploma, for a few of them it was a final probability to shine earlier than (World Cup) choice. We gained 43-9 and performed practically an ideal sport. Wales didn’t even seem like they’d rating a attempt.

“One factor I at all times felt with Clive was that he was honest. He’s an concepts man, at all times serious about the following factor. He trusted senior gamers. He’d give you a great deal of concepts: some you’d dismiss out of hand, a couple of, hmmm, and three or 4 have been priceless.

“Individuals appear to take it with no consideration now however he was forward of his time. It was nonetheless the comparatively early days {of professional} rugby.”

Jason Leonard Life in Pictures

1994: England gamers loosen up after beating South Africa (Getty Pictures)

DRESSING DOWN, 1994

“This was an England tour in South Africa. Dewi Morris is beside me, a fantastic mate and probably the greatest scrum-halves on the earth on the time. He had ups and downs and a few individuals referred to as him restricted, however he was incredible.

“We’re celebrating the win and that sport was a bizarre one – Rob Andrew scored a attempt to Rob was not famend for scoring tries. “We misplaced the second Check however in 1994 you can see the affect Nelson Mandela was having. He noticed that sport, particularly rugby, might unite the nation and also you noticed it coming. Quick-forward a yr and also you’d see the World Cup.”

Lions chairman Jason Leonard

1997: Harlequins v Auckland (Getty Pictures)

UP CLOSE, 1997

“Quins had a star-studded crew then, with Thierry Lacroix, Laurent Cabannes, Keith Wooden, Will Carling… A incredible time.

“We organised this sport in opposition to Auckland, probably the greatest groups on the earth on the time. You’re making that transition from novice to professionalism and our groundsman was an odd jobs man. He handled the pitch and killed all of the grass. We had every week of rain and Auckland flip up with these nice runners and it’s a few foot of mud. Which suited us!”

Lions chairman Jason Leonard

2003: A media huddle in Australia (Getty Pictures)

IN DEMAND, 2003

“That is doing a little media work in Australia and I used to take pleasure in it as a result of I’ve identified a few of these guys since 1990.

“I’m about to equal Philippe Sella’s file (for Check caps) so this is able to be earlier than my 111th cap. Like captaincy, you don’t play for data or simply to be a captain. It’s an honour, it’s incredible. I by no means thought I’d get to that variety of caps. And to do it following somebody like Sella, who I imagine is among the biggest gamers to ever stroll onto a subject of rugby, made it much more particular.”

England world cup

2003: In London with the Webb Ellis trophy (Getty Pictures)

TROPHY TOUR, 2003

“That is at Downing Road after our parade for successful the World Cup. It was bitterly chilly and I bear in mind we obtained on a bus to get to Marble Arch and wait there.

“There was nobody the place we have been, we thought it was a catastrophe. So you may think about our shock as we went not far away, down Oxford Road and Regent Road and round to Trafalgar Sq.. It was simply awash with flags and white England shirts and other people screaming and shouting.

“It was weird. Overwhelming. I noticed the spouse of a mate on the road and she or he started screaming. It was like we have been The Beatles!”

This text initially appeared within the January 2021 version of Rugby World journal.

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