â00It was a massive honour. We won the Grand Slam that year with Wales and I played, not a huge part but, what I felt was an important part coming off the bench in three of the five games. Obviously Clive Woodward saw something in those performances to pick me and it was a huge honour to be picked.
â00Itâ00s the pinnacle of everyoneâ00s career. Itâ00s an added bonus to your Welsh jersey, really. To get that recognition to go on and play for the Lions is one step higher.â0
â00The best moment of it for me was being selected and then playing against Argentina in the Millennium Stadium in front of home fans. It was a huge honour and the Millennium Stadium crowd are always brilliant. That was a great moment.
â00Looking back on it, the (number of ) chances I had to play for the Lions was quite disappointing.
â00I still look at it as a success and something Iâ00m very proud of doing but also with a little bit of a bitter taste in my mouth too.â0
â00Obviously Iâ00m a little bit out of contention at the moment but it would be great.
â00Iâ00ve not had the greatest last couple of seasons but, with the South Africa tour going well for me in the summer and a good pre-season under my belt this year, hopefully Iâ00ll be pushing for a Welsh spot and maybe have a chance to have a crack at it again.â0
Cooperâ00s Lions lowdown
Gareth Cooper was selected for the Lions while playing for Newport Gwent Dragons. He has since moved to Gloucester Rugby and is now entering his second season with the Cherry and Whites.
Cooper was one of three products of Pencoed Rugby Club on the 2005 tour. The others were Gareth Thomas and Gavin Henson, while 1989, 1997 and 2001 tourist Scott Gibbs is another Lion to have played his formative rugby with the clubâ00s junior section.
After starting the game against Argentina at the Millennium Stadium prior to the Lionsâ00 departure for New Zealand, Cooper had to settle for just three further appearances on tour.
The then 26-year-old former Bath and Celtic Warriors player only wore the No9 shirt in the 26-16 win over Southland and the 109-6 thrashing of Manawatu, after coming on as a replacement in the Lionsâ00 second fixture against Taranaki.
Cooper was a try-scorer in the demolition of Manawatu in Palmerston North.