Former England and British and Irish Lions player, Jason Leonard (pictured above, right) has been elevated to the position of Chairman this week.
Lions player number 644, Jason Leonard is a three times British and Irish Lions tourist (1993, 1997 and 2001) and will bring both a player’s and an administrator’s perspective, during his tenure as Chairman which began on April 16.
“To be involved in the Lions is an absolute joy. To be Chairman of the Lions, believe me, is a dream come true.”
Jason Leonard has been appointed Chairman of the British & Irish Lions. pic.twitter.com/1BtEyAGvbO
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) April 18, 2019
British & Irish Lions’ Managing Director Ben Calveley said: “I would like to congratulate Jason on his appointment and am looking forward to working closely with him in the coming years.
“His huge experience as a winning Lion respected globally as one of the greats of the game, coupled with his business acumen will provide us with the insight required to organise a successful tour to South Africa.”
Jason Leonard appointed Chairman, British and Irish Lions
In a media release, the famed rugby fraternity heralded ‘Jason’s support for the Lions is unstinting and in 2017 he helped launch the Pick of the Pride programme for young ambassadors from the Home Unions to go on the Tour and immerse themselves in the culture of New Zealand rugby’.
The game has huge affection for England’s most capped player who made no less than 290 appearances for Harlequins in a career spanning both the amateur and professional game.
A former President of his club Barking RFC, Jason Leonard has served on the RFU Council as National Member from 2006. He was RFU President in 2015-2016, celebrating the sport during the Rugby World Cup.
Now, with the upcoming tour to South Africa scheduled for 2021, the appointment will bring a new term of enthusiasm for the Lions brand. Who better than Jason Leonard to serve as Chairman of the Lions.
A man who lives and breathes the ethos of a team of rivals.
As the man himself told the Lions website, “It’s about the whole, not about the individual, it’s about the team. It’s about the group, the friendship, the camaraderie that goes with it.
“Once you put that shirt on, it sounds a little misty-eyed, but you’re living up to the Lions that have worn that jersey before, the legend of the Lions before. You want to make sure you do that jersey proud.
“It creates those friendships, that bond. You have a band of brothers across all the years. If you are talking to guys who went on Tours in the 50s and 60s, you can relate to them. It’s a powerful bond.”
For now, Leonard will look ahead to new goals leading the organization he invested much in (as a player). With South Africa 2021, plus the critical selection of Head Coach next year, the future of the Lions looks bright.
“Main photo credit”
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