15 Munster Players Who Famously Represented The British & Irish Lions
Considered by most to be the pinnacle of a rugby career, being selected for the Lions is among the highest of honours a player can achieve, with only the very best from Britain and Ireland considered for selection.
Munster rugby are no stranger to touring sides, having famously beaten both New Zealand and Australia in Thomond Park and contributed hugely to the make-up of touring British and Irish lions sides over the years.
Here are fifteen of the best.
Paul O’ Connell
(2005, 2009, 2013)
The towering lock started all three tests in 2005 and was captain in 2009, once again starting all three tests. Started the first test in 2013 before injury cut his tour short.
Ronan O’ Gara
(2001, 2005, 2009)
Another three tour veteran, having represented the Lions in 2001, 2005 & 2009, starting two test games.
Went into the 2001 tour as one of the best centre’s in the world, starting all three tests.
Played an integral role in the series win over the Springboks in 1997. Toured again in 2001, the same year he was named IRB world player of the year.
His selection for the 1980 Lions tour made him the first player from the Shannon club to achieve such an honour and his test jersey is still proudly hanging in the Shannon club’s President’s suite at Thomond Park.
Surprise inclusion in the 2009 tour at such a young age, but shined throughout.
Donncha O’ Callaghan
Captained the Lions against the Southern Kings on the 16 June 2009 in their final tour match before the first Test against South Africa.
The Young Munster prop was the first player from a Limerick club to be selected for the Lions when he toured Australia and New Zealand in 1950. He played in 20 games in total on that marathon tour, including five of the six test games.
Travelled to New Zealand in 2005 and was called out to South Africa in 2009 as a replacement (where he featured in the third Test). Won a record number of caps for Ireland before retiring at the end of 2011.
One of the greatest sevens to have ever graced the game, toured twice with the Lions – to Australia in 2001 and South Africa in 2009 where he played in the three Test games.
Older brother of David. Toured New Zealand with the Lions in 1993, a series that the hosts won 2-1. Played with Garryowen, Munster, Saracens and Ireland and finished his career with 29 caps to his name.
One of just two Irish players named in the original squad to tour New Zealand in 1993 (Nick Popplewell was the other). He played seven games in New Zealand and was regarded as hugely unlucky to miss out on a test place.
Played second fiddle to Mike Phillips but shone in the third test against Australia. The clear favourite for the nine jersey in 2017.
A late call-up in 2013, shone in the midweek games, but failed to get a place in a test squad. Will be hoping to go one step further in 2017.