Men Behind the Tour: No.7 – Geoff Parling

Geoff Parling will forever remember the British & Irish Lions' successful tour of Australia for reasons off the pitch as well as on it - however it could have all been so different. [more]

Men Behind the Tour: No.7 – Geoff Parling

Geoff Parling will forever remember the British & Irish Lions’ successful tour of Australia for reasons off the pitch as well as on it – however it could have all been so different.

The 29-year-old benefitted from an arm injury to Paul O’Connell to start the second and third Tests against Australia having come on as a replacement in the first, which was won 23-21.

After winning that opening match in Brisbane Australia bounced back in Melbourne to claim a 16-15 victory before the Lions demolished their opponents 41-16 in the decider.

Parling’s tap tackle on Jesse Mogg in that third and final Test will go down in Lions history while the final outcome made the lock’s choice to even be out there worthwhile.

For Parling’s wife Elle was pregnant when he travelled to Australia and gave birth to daughter May in the build up to the first Test in Brisbane.

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“We did think about it [not going] but these sort of opportunities don’t come around very often,” said Parling. “Neither does having a kid, to be fair.

“Thankfully, my wife is very understanding. She had her aunt and uncle looking after her, and some neighbours who are good as well.

“I am just very relieved she was fit and healthy. Everyone was saying I should have called the baby Matilda. It was a great week, quite surreal, to be fair. The most important thing for me was that she was fit and healthy.

“I followed the birth on FaceTime and Skype. What an invention. Just beforehand my wife was in the room ready and the midwife came in and I said ‘please just put me in the corner, I will just watch and be quiet,’ and the midwife actually turned it off.

“I was pacing around the room for about an hour, quite nervous to be honest because you never know how it is going to go.

“Then I got FaceTimed again, and I heard someone laughing, so as soon as I heard that I knew everything was fine.”

Parling was also due to captain the Lions in the midweek match with the Melbourne Rebels but didn’t after the news of O’Connell’s injury – not that he complained.

“Obviously winning the tour topped everything but just being part of such a special tour was an honour,” he added.

“I really enjoyed visiting different places and playing against teams you will never play against again. There were so many supporters in Oz too that created an awesome atmosphere.”

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