Winning international caps with your own country is a huge achievement but ask any Lion and he will tell you the same thing: touring with the Lions is a cut above the rest.
With that in mind, lionsrugby.com takes a look at why so many Lions past and present hold Britain and Ireland's elite in such high regard.
Jerry Guscott - Bath centre who toured three times as a Lion in 1989, 1993 and 1997, kicking a series-clinching drop goal in the last of those tours
There is nothing in rugby to touch the Lions. They have always meant more to me than any other team. Lions tours are far more intense than playing for England - they provide a stage on which you can find a place in history. They certainly provided me with a world stage on which to play a leading role after an uncompromising season (1996/97) with England in which I had had to play bit parts.
I would like to see the Lions continue for ever, although it still intrigues me how a group of blokes touring a country for a couple of months can have such a tremendous time doing something so painful. They are a one-off, and there is no greater inspiration in the British and Irish game.
The Lions concept breaks down barriers and preconceptions between individuals and nationalities like nothing else.
Gareth Edwards - Cardiff scrum-half who made 10 Test appearances for the Lions in 1968, 1971 and 1974 and is arguably the game's greatest-ever player
The thing that is so special to me about the Lions is the different cultures and backgrounds coming together. No Lion will ever forget the camaraderie that you share as a squad. It is such a close knit group it is fantastic. Whether you go 10 years without seeing each other, you still share that common bond that is unique.
It is an absolute pleasure and honour to tour with the Lions and I just hope that the 2009 squad will feel the same in 30 years as we do now. Sometimes the Lions will be successful, sometimes they won't but no Lion will ever forget the special friends they made and the fun that they had.
Mike Teague (left) and Gareth Edwards treasure their Lions experiences
Mike Teague - Gloucester back row star who toured with the Lions in 1989 and 1993, winning the Man-of-the-Series award on his first Lions adventure
I remember going on my first tour and pulling on a shirt in which you feel you can't possibly lose. You look around the changing room at the amazing players surrounding you and feel such pride.
I was injured for some of the 1989 tour and I honestly believe that the best team talk I have ever heard was when I was sat in the stands while I was injured and listened to the Australians around me slating the Lions.
To me the Lions is truly special and a fantastic experience. I hope the 2009 guys make the most of the opportunity.
Neil Back - Leicester openside who became the oldest Test Lion four years ago when he appeared on his third successive tour
When you walk into a Lions camp as an England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales player, you become a Lion. It's great to rub shoulders with some of the greatest players ever to play the game in the northern hemisphere. To share their views and outlooks and get a different point of view on things is excellent.
I made some fantastic lifelong friends from the tours. You share moments both on and off the pitch that you'll never forget. I'm very proud and very pleased to have been involved in that.
Brian Moore - Harlequins hooker who started five Tests on the 1989 tour of Australia and the 1993 tour of New Zealand
When I was a schoolboy, I felt that there was an otherness, a mysterious quality about the Lions. They always played away, thousands of miles away, so you never saw them in the flesh. Until as recently as the 1970s, the series they played were never televised and relatively few media men followed them.
So the Lions have always had something of an unreal and heroic quality. It is through the Lions, rather than through touring with your own single country, that you become one of the gods of the game.
Twice a tourist, Brian Moore believes the Lions have heroic qualities
Bill Beaumont - Fylde second row who became a Lion as a player in 1977, as captain in 1980 and as team manager in 2005
I hope people still see the Lions as having an important role to play on the world stage. It is important for the players because it elevates them to a different level from playing for their country.
I believe the two major brands that people want to buy, because of what they stand for historically, are the Lions and All Blacks. It would be a tragedy if the Lions were ever disbanded.
Fran Cotton - Sale prop who toured with the Lions in 1974, 1977 and 1980 and went on to manage Ian McGeechan's victorious squad on their 1997 tour of South Africa
To be chosen to tour with the British & Irish Lions should be the pinnacle of any player's career. To play for your country is a fantastic experience but to be selected to tour as a British Lion is the stuff of dreams. I had the great honour of to tour with the Lions on three occasions as a player…all three of those tours are indelibly etched on my memory.