The British & Irish Lions today announced the appointment of Tom Grace as the new chairman of the Lions Board. He succeeds Gerald Davies who had occupied the role from September 2010 until now; while the latter was also tour manager when the Lions went to South Africa in 2009.
Grace who is a senior independent director with Paddy Power Plc, is the honorary treasurer of the IRFU and a former Irish International wing, who won 25 caps, eight as captain.
He was part of the famous British & Irish Lions squad on the 1974 Tour to South Africa. By the end of that voyage, he had amassed an impressive tally of 11 appearances and 52 points.
“It is an honour to be appointed chairman of the British & Lions”, Grace said. “The Lions represent the core values of our sport and I am grateful for the opportunity to represent them as chairman.
“It is a privilege to take over from Gerald Davies, who has been a wonderful ambassador for the Lions both as a player, tour manager and more recently as chairman.”
John Spencer will be appointed manager for the 2017 Tour to New Zealand taking over the duties from Andy Irvine who managed the successful 2013 incarnation against Australia
Spencer is the English RFU representative on the Lions Board since 2008. He was the English representative on the Six Nations Council from 2011 to 2013 and has been on the IRB Board since 2011.
He is a former England captain, Barbarian, and toured New Zealand and Australia with the Lions in 1971 where he played 10 matches.
Meanwhile three former Ireland internationals, Tom Kiernan, Fergus Slattery and Keith Wood are part of a tranche of new inductees to the International Rugby Board (IRB) Hall of Fame.
It is part of the sport’s commitment to provide one definitive Hall of Fame after the IRB announced it is to integrate inductees from the International Rugby Hall of Fame within its own IRB Hall of Fame property.
Under the deal agreed with the owners of the International Rugby Hall of Fame, 37 greats not already included within the IRB Hall of Fame will be inducted into the property, creating a unique record.
The latest inductions will take place at a series of events throughout 2014 and 2015 and the inductees are: Fred Allen, Bill Beaumont, Phil Bennett, Naas Botha, Gordon Brown, Don Clarke, Gerald Davies, Mervyn Davies, Morne du Plessis, Ieuan Evans, Sean Fitzpatrick, Grant Fox, Danie Gerber, Tim Horan, Andy Irvine, Carwyn James, Barry John, Michael Jones, Tom Kiernan, Ian Kirkpatrick, John Kirwan, Jason Leonard, Michael Lynagh, Bill McLaren, Terry McLean, Jo Maso, Colin Meads, Graham Mourie, Hennie Muller, George Nepia, Gwyn Nicholls, Jean-Pierre Rives, Fergus Slattery, Joost van der Westhuizen, Wavell Wakefield, JPR Williams, Keith Wood.