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Lions to leaders

British & Irish Lions have to be the best of the best on the field of play but, as Ian McLauchlan demonstrated in 2010, so many great players can also go on to become great figureheads in the game.

British & Irish Lions have to be the best of the best on the field of play but, as Ian McLauchlan demonstrated in 2010, so many great players can also go on to become great figureheads in the game.

‘Mighty Mouse’ became the 10th Scottish player to have toured with the Lions to become president of the SRU when he was elected last summer and continued a line that was first started by another great Scot, the 1891 Lions tour captain William MacLagan.

MacLagan’s men set the standard for future Lions teams as they won all 20 of their matches in South Africa, including an unofficial final outing against Stellenbosch, and won the first Test series played by both South Africa and the Lions 3-0.

The Scottish three-quarter made his international debut as a teenager against England in 1878 and went on to win 26 caps for his country. By the time he was invited to lead the Lions he was recognised as one of the best players around and only missed one of the 20 tour games.

He was invited to become the 21st SRU President in 1894 at the age of only 36 and served for two terms. He also sat on the IRB for three years.

A second Scot on the 1891 tour, Robert MacMillan, became SRU President in 1900 before two Irish internationals from the 1896 return tour to South Africa, Andrew Clinch and James Sealy, became the figureheads of their Union in 1904 and 1927 respectively.

The 1904 tour party to Australia and New Zealand provided the first of five Welsh players to become President of the WRU in scrum half Tommy Vile. That squad also contained Guy’s Hospital centre Pat McEvedy, who eventually returned to his native New Zealand and became president of the NZRU in 1934.

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The 1959 tour to New Zealand provided seven Presidents from the playing and management ranks – Niall Brophy (IRFU), Ronnie Dawson (IRFU), Dickie Jeeps (RFU), Syd Millar (IRFU), Noel Murphy (IRFU), Ken Smith (SRU) and manager Alf Wilson (SRU). Included among the six players from that tour is Syd Millar, who went on to coach the Lions in 1974, manage them in 1980 and become chairman of the IRB between 2003-07.

The last Lions player prior to McLauchlan to be honoured with the presidency of his country was none other than Andy Irvine – the man who has been chosen to manage the 125th anniversary Lions tour to Australia in 2013.

Lions as Presidents

Name Lion Union Year
William MacLagan*      1891 SRU 1894-96
Robert MacMillan 1891 SRU 1900-01
Andrew Clinch 1896 IRFU 1904-05
James Sealy 1896 IRFU 1927-28
Mark Morrison* 1903 SRU 1934-35
William Scott    1903 SRU  1935-36
Alfred Tedford 1903 IRFU  1919-20 
Tommy Vile      1904 WRU 1955-56
Pat McEvedy   1904/08 NZRU 1934
William Cail (Manager) 1910 RFU 1892-94
William Tyrrell 1910 IRFU 1950-51
Dan Drysdale   1924 SRU 1951-52
Tommy Voyce 1924 RFU 1960-61
Herbert Waddell 1924 SRU 1963-64
James Baxter (Manager) 1930 RFU 1926-27
Harry Bowcott 1930 WRU 1974-75 
Ivor Jones 1930 WRU 1968-69
Paul Murray     1930 IRFU 1965-66
Stan Couchman 1938 RFU 1978-79 
Bernard Hartley (Manager) 1938 RFU 1947-48
Harry McKibbin 1938 IRFU 1974-75
Noel Henderson 1950 IRFU 1990-91
Jimmy Nelson 1950 IRFU 1982-83
Ginger Osborne (Manager) 1950 RFU 1956-57
Doug Smith 1950 SRU 1986-87
Danny Davies  (Assistant Man) 1955 WRU 1961-62
Dickie Jeeps 1955/59/62 RFU 1976-77
Jack Siggins (Manager) 1955 IRFU 1962-63
Alun Thomas 1955 WRI 1985-86
Niall Brophy 1959/62 IRFU 1997-98
Ronnie Dawson*  1959 IRFU 1989-90
Syd Millar 1959/62/68 IRFU 1995-96
Noel Murphy    195/66 IRFU 1998-89
Ken Smith 1959 SRU 1994-95
Alf Wilson (Manager)  1959 SRU 1972-73
Tom Kiernan*  1962/68 IRFU 1988-89
Budge Rogers   1962 RFU 2000-01
Keith Rowlands 1962 WRU 2004-06
Ian McLauchlan 1971/74 SRU 2010-current
Andy Irvine 1974/77/80 SRU 2005-07
Dod Burrell (Manager) 1977 SRU 1985-86
Clive Rowlands (Manager) 1989 WRU 1989-90
* Tour captains      

Lions as secretaries

Name Lion Union Year
Walter Rees (Manager) 1910 WRU 1896-1947
Doug Prentice 1930 RFU 1947-62
Bill Clement 1938 WRU 1956-81

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