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Month: October 2020 Page 1 of 3

British and Irish Lions jersey revealed

The British & Irish Lions jersey for the 2021 tour of South Africa has been unveiled with the design celebrating the journey a player must undergo to reach the pinnacle of the games

Designed and manufactured by the Lions’ official apparel sponsor, Canterbury, the new Pro jersey was unveiled on Thursday and will go on sale in South Africa on Friday.

British and Irish Lions jersey revealed
British and Irish Lions jersey revealed

With the Lions squad recognized as being made up of the best players, the iconic red jersey’s new design features a striking graphic on the shoulders, comprising a multitude of individual pieces that come together to form the image of a lion. Symbolizing the origins of the players and those who have helped them to reach the pinnacle of the game, each piece pays homage to every teammate, club coach, family member, and friend who helped them along the way.

Canterbury confirmed that the design celebrates the journey a player must undergo to reach the very top of the game, as well as those who have helped them get there.

Commenting on the jersey, Lions coach Warren Gatland said: ‘The jersey looks awesome and I think Lions supporters, as well as the players, are going to love it, too. Canterbury, as we have become accustomed to, has done a great job yet again.

British and Irish Lions jersey revealed
British and Irish Lions jersey revealed

‘Some of the best experiences I’ve had as a Lions coach have been looking out across a stadium ahead of a match and seeing a “Sea of Red” Lions jerseys. Entire stands turned red; it’s an incredible thing to witness and creates an atmosphere that is truly unique to the Lions.’

The Pro jersey is the Lions’ most sustainable ever, with the main body made up of 100% recycled polyester and is available in men’s, women’s, and junior sizes, allowing supporters to be part of the pride and show their support.

Canterbury has also launched the largest-ever range of Lions’ training and off-field supporter wear, with a total of 112 items. This includes three times as many women’s products than previously and its biggest-ever junior range.

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Exciting new launch night footage

Today, on Friday 7th August 2020, we mark what would have been this year’s official opening night of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

In April 2020 we took the sad decision to cancel this year’s Show. We did however want to mark what would have been opening night, with a special nod to those who make the Tattoo special.

On a usual opening weekend, we’d begin a 25-night run of welcoming audience members from around the world to take their seats on the iconic Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. Guests would have the chance to feast their eyes on the spectacular sight of the massed pipes and drums, traditional highland dance and fiddle, and the wonderful talents of cultural acts from all corners of the globe.

In this, the year of our 70th anniversary, we are particularly sad not to celebrate with you in person. August isn’t the same without our audiences, performers, and staff coming together on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade, every person makes the Show special.

Exciting new launch night footage
Exciting new launch night footage

Buster Howes, CEO of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: “I’m immensely proud to have recently taken the reigns of this iconic Show. The audiences we welcome year on year are hugely important to us and we want to acknowledge the continued support on what should have been the opening night of our 70th anniversary Show. Despite the very difficult circumstances, we’re working hard to find imaginative and creative ways to bring you flavors of the Show that you know and love.”

We can’t wait to welcome you all back in 2021. Keep an eye on our social channels and website for On Sale ticket updates.

Edinburgh Tattoo Tickets go on sale book online at xchnagetickets.com or via telephone on +44 (0) 20-3290-5577

British Lions to kickstart Boks tour with a test against Japan on home soil

The British & Irish Lions will play a rugby event against Japan in Edinburgh next June before embarking on an eight-game tour of South Africa.

It will be just the third home test for the Lions and the first against Japan. Lions head coach Warren Gatland said the World Cup quarter-finals would offer a tough test before his team faces World Cup champion, South Africa, in a three-round series.

British Lions to kickstart Boks tour with a test against Japan on home soil
British Lions to kickstart Boks tour with a test against Japan on home soil

“We saw Japan play excellent rugby during the World Cup and they will come to Edinburgh fully motivated to win,” Gatland said. “They are a talented team playing high-paced rugby, so it will be a good challenge for us before the tour and an opportunity for the team of the day to raise their hands for the test selection.”

Japan’s head coach Jamie Joseph said the June 26 game would be an “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players, and we can’t wait for it to come.”

British & Irish Lions

The British and Irish Lions played in Cardiff against a World XV in 1986 and Argentina in 2005. The Lions team made up of players selected from the so-called local nations of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, generally tour the southern hemisphere every four years. The first of the 13 tours to South Africa was in 1891.

The Lions will kick off their 2021 tour with a game against the Stormers in Cape Town on July 3. The series of three tests will begin in Johannesburg on July 24.

British Lions to kickstart Boks tour with a test against Japan on home soil
British Lions to kickstart Boks tour with a test against Japan on home soil

South Africa announced last week that it was withdrawing from the 2020 Rugby Championship that would begin in Australia due to concerns for the well-being of the players following the long break from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Springboks have not played an international game since defeating England in the final of the Rugby World Cup in Japan last November.

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British Lions could tour Japan in wake of sides meeting at Murrayfield

The British and Irish Lions have opened the entryway for a future visit through Japan after reporting just the third home coordinate in their famous history against the Brave Blossoms the following summer.

Warren Gatland’s side will confront Japan at Murrayfield on 26 June the very day as the Premiership last and keeping in mind that they will do as such with no England players, the apparatus will fill in as a key aspect of the Lions’ arrangements before confronting the titleholders.

British Lions could tour Japan in wake of sides meeting at Murrayfield
British Lions could tour Japan in wake of sides meeting at Murrayfield

The outing to South Africa will be the first since the San Francisco understanding in 2017 when it was chosen by the game’s powerbrokers that visits would be sliced to eight matches. That gathering was disputable because the Lions were not appropriately spoken to and keeping in mind that the Murrayfield coordinate expands the number of installations to nine, the Premiership clubs’ refusal to make any of their player’s accessible shows further how the Lions are getting progressively minimized.

Their put on the worldwide timetable is, at any rate, ensured up to 2032, as indicated by the San Francisco arrangement; however, the worldwide schedule is easily proven wrong with various associations anxious to move the current summer window to October. Should that occur, a visit through Japan which solidified itself as rugby’s greatest new transmission market during a year ago’s World Cup could draw nearer to turning out to be a reality.

The Lions’ overseeing chief, Ben Calveley, stated: “We’re building up a relationship here with Japan; this is the first occasion when that the Lions has played against Japan and it will be a memorable Test. My view is that the Lions can offer a horrendous part to the development of the worldwide game and we ought to consider how best it can do that.

“I will keep on speaking to the Lions admirably well inside those worldwide arrangements when they occur, while the Lions might not have been straightforwardly spoken to in the room beforehand, we are presently legitimately spoken to and I make all the focuses that I require to make as many of those worldwide season exchanges happen.”

British Lions could tour Japan in wake of sides meeting at Murrayfield

Calveley likewise uncovered that Gatland, who has spent the previous month going to a large group of club matches, will defer naming his associate mentors until the New Year yet affirmed conversations had opened with the home associations.

Four years prior, Gatland needed Gregor Townsend, who had quite recently been delegated Scotland’s lead trainer, to be important for his reserved alcove staff however he was unable to make sure about his delivery. Calveley, however, is hopeful no such issues will happen this time. The Ireland lead trainer, Andy Farrell, has been important for the instructing group for as far back as two visits, and keeping in mind that he as of late said he has not been drawn nearer by Gatland he didn’t preclude a third Lions trip.

Calveley likewise said club mentors will likewise be thought of, raising the possibility of the Crusaders’ Scott Robertson, who has communicated an intrigue, Stuart Lancaster from Leinster or Exeter’s Rob Baxter being included.

Calveley stated: “What Warren and I have been doing is getting round the lead trainers and the CEOs from every one of the four associations and I can affirm they’re all amazingly strong, as you would anticipate that they should be because they comprehend the estimation of the Lions.

British Lions could tour Japan in wake of sides meeting at Murrayfield

“I don’t believe there’s any presumption the mentors need to originate from inside the association builds, they could emerge out of a club climate.

“We’re open we’re keen on designating mentors that can assist us with winning in South Africa and that are the principal measures. Anybody that can assist us with winning these Test matches would be intriguing to Warren and eventually, it’s his call.”

Tickets for the historic fixture go on pre-sale on Tuesday 3 November, fans can book Lions vs Japan Tickets on our website xchanhgetickets.com.

LIONS WATCH: STANDER AND SEXTON SCORE FOR THE IRELAND WHILE JONES EQUALS WORLD CAPS RECORD

International rugby returned to the Northern Hemisphere this weekend and the stars of the British and Irish Lions were at the heart of the action. Rugby enthusiasts can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

The star attraction was the return of the Six Nations, as Round 4 concluded more than seven months after it began. However, Ireland wasted no time in shedding any signs of rust as they racked up 50 points in a complete win over Italy, leaving them a clear point at the top heading into Super Saturday next weekend.

Leinster winger Hugo Keenan took an international bow to remember, crossing two of Ireland’s seven attempts, while fellow rookie Will Connors also landed in a man of the match display. CJ Stander, who scored against the Blues on the 2017 Tour and participated in the third round, and two-time Lions tourist Johnny Sexton added their names to the roster while Sexton contributed 13 points off the tee.

LIONS WATCH: STANDER AND SEXTON SCORE FOR THE IRELAND WHILE JONES EQUALS WORLD CAPS RECORD
LIONS WATCH: STANDER AND SEXTON SCORE FOR THE IRELAND WHILE JONES EQUALS WORLD CAPS RECORD

The victory came at a cost for Ireland, who saw Garry Ringrose leave the field with a broken jaw that will likely keep him out for about six weeks. Ringrose was replaced on Saturday by 2017 tourist Robbie Henshaw, while fellow center Bundee Aki scored as he looks to pressure home with his own Lions credentials.

Of the other Lions on display in Dublin, Conor Murray had a steady play in the scrum-half after an early sin fall and Peter O’Mahony came off the bench to set up Aki’s score with a good volley.

Andy Farrell’s men now have their fate in their own hands heading into next weekend’s grand final and they know that an extra point’s victory against France will win them the Championship. If Ireland wins without a bonus point, their fate would depend on England’s result in Italy, although the men in green enter Round 5 with a point difference higher by a margin of 24.

AWJ equals McCaw

Wales kicked off Super Saturday next weekend and prepared for their clash against Scotland with a trip to Paris, where they found a French team in top form.

LIONS WATCH: STANDER AND SEXTON SCORE FOR THE IRELAND WHILE JONES EQUALS WORLD CAPS RECORD
LIONS WATCH: STANDER AND SEXTON SCORE FOR THE IRELAND WHILE JONES EQUALS WORLD CAPS RECORD

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones equaled Richie McCaw’s record of 148 test matches, nine of which have occurred throughout three Lions Tours, and his team got off to a dream start when tourist Leigh Halfpenny of 2017 crossed in the second minute.

Teammate Leon Dan Biggar converted before adding a penalty to put Wales 10-0 up, but an Antoine Dupont-inspired France responded in style. The scrum-half scored twice and helped prepare two more attempts for the hosts, who were left with 38-21 winners.

Jones made no excuses and urged his team to improve next weekend when the 35-year-old will become the most capped international player in rugby history. The Wales captain was one of eight Lions in the starting XV in Paris, where Jonathan Davies made his first international appearance since the 2019 World Cup bronze medal match.

Russell returns

Visitors to Wales next weekend, Scotland, were in action on Friday night and made eight attempts throughout a 48-7 win over Georgia at BT Murrayfield. Duhan van der Merwe scored on his debut for Gregor Townsend’s team and there were twos for acting Captain Fraser Brown and Darcy Graham.

LIONS WATCH: STANDER AND SEXTON SCORE FOR THE IRELAND WHILE JONES EQUALS WORLD CAPS RECORD
LIONS WATCH: STANDER AND SEXTON SCORE FOR THE IRELAND WHILE JONES EQUALS WORLD CAPS RECORD

The match was also notable for Finn Russell’s return to international rugby, with the talented fly-half coming off the bench to win his 50th call-up for Scotland without having played since last year’s World Cup. Russell was called up as a cover on the 2017 Tour, making a brief appearance off the bench against Hurricanes, and is looking forward to a chance to shine in South Africa next summer.

Another Lion on his way back is Liam Williams, who played for the second time this year when the Scarlets beat Benetton 10-3 in a cautious Guinness PRO14 affair on Friday night. The 29-year-old, who helped set up one of the best attempts in Lions history for Sean O’Brien in Test 1 in 2017, played the first 66 minutes at Treviso and hopes to play for Wales throughout busy autumn.

Chiefs at the double

Elsewhere on the home front, Exeter Chiefs added the Premiership title to the European Challenge Cup they won last weekend to complete a memorable double. The Chiefs beat the Wasps 19-13 in torrential rain at Twickenham, with England star Henry Slade scoring a good individual try in the first half.

Jacob Umaga responded with a score for the Wasps, but Joe Simmonds’ dependable boot took Exeter out after the break and the Chiefs became the fourth English club to score a national and European double.

LIONS WATCH: STANDER AND SEXTON SCORE FOR THE IRELAND WHILE JONES EQUALS WORLD CAPS RECORD
LIONS WATCH: STANDER AND SEXTON SCORE FOR THE IRELAND WHILE JONES EQUALS WORLD CAPS RECORD

Stuart Hogg, a member of the Lions’ touring group in 2013 and 2017, started as a winger for the new English champions, while Jack Nowell, who participated in two 2017 events, lined up on the wing and assisted in Slade’s attempt. Nowell will now undergo the upcoming Miss England Fall Internationals to undergo surgery on a toe injury, having played through the pain barrier to participate in the Exeter final.

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Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2020 charity donation and plans for 2021 on sale

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will donate £340,000 to military charities across the UK this year, as it also sets out its intention to go on sale for the 2021 Show.

Despite this year’s show being canceled in light of Covid-19, we’re committed to continuing our charitable support; with this latest donation bringing our total charitable contributions to more than £12.3 million since the event began in 1950.

The sum of £300,000 will be awarded to eight Armed Services beneficiaries including ABF the Soldiers’ Charity, The Royal Navy, and Royal Marines Charity, The Army Piping Committee, and RAF Benevolent Fund. While £40,000 will be directed to the Army Piping Committee to help support and sustain British Army Pipes and Drums.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Plans are already underway to make the Tattoo’s live show an unforgettable experience for audiences in 2021, with tickets due to go on sale in October this year. The 30,000 ticket holders who transferred their tickets for this year’s show will be granted priority access to the 2021 tickets when sales go live.

Ruelle Soutar, Chief Operating Officer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: “2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. However, as a charitable organization, we’re committed now more than ever to continue to support the projects that support us and help to sustain the Tattoo and all that lies behind it. To be able to donate this sum of money, despite the challenges we’ve faced this year is an incredibly proud moment for me and is a testament to the hard work of the whole team.”

Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Buster Howes, CEO of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo added: “Putting the disappointments of this silent August behind us, it is surely time to look ahead.  We’ve been working hard, behind the scenes, to make a safe, creative and thrilling return to the Castle Esplanade in 2021. Announcing our intention to sell tickets for next year is our first public step towards this. We’re so looking forward to welcoming you all back; to lacing up our dancing shoes; firing up our pipes, drums, and fiddles, and to gleefully launching again, the most spectacular show on earth!”

As the Show marches into its eighth decade, our team is embracing the chance to adapt and evolve to remain one of the world’s leading public events.

Edinburgh Tattoo Tickets go on sale book online at xchnagetickets.com or via telephone on +44 (0) 20-3290-5577

Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2021 seating guide

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an evening of live military performances from Regiments and Military bands that include the massed pipes and drums, dancers, performers, singers, military displays, special lighting effects, and the Lone Piper. 2021 dates are the 6th to 28th August and it will be celebrating its 70th year.  

Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2021 seating guide
Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2021 seating guide

For any individual who moved their tickets from 2020, the booking lines for 2021 are open from Monday fifth October at 10 am 2020 until late of the ninth of October 2020.

Tickets for 2021 are discounted on Monday nineteenth October. Tickets can be bought from 10 am. There will be a restricted limit field for the year 2021. You can purchase up to 8 tickets on one exchange; notwithstanding, the seating is restricted to 4 seats together.

Less expensive evaluated tickets in 2021, the Peak tickets will be accessible on the eleventh, eighteenth, and 25th August 2021.

For the best determination of seats that suit you’re spending plan the prior the better. Non-weekend days the exhibitions are Monday to Friday at 9:00 pm and on Saturday at 6.30 pm and 10:30 pm. There is no tattoo on any Sunday in August.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2021 seating guide

I have been going to The Edinburgh Military Tattoo for quite a while sitting in different areas on the Castle Esplanade, the huge space straightforwardly before Edinburgh Castle.

A transitory stand is raised here and the seats are outside with no spread or security from the components except if you are in the Royal Gallery. These seats are extravagant and can be found in the purple segment.

Edinburgh Tattoo Tickets go on sale book online at xchnagetickets.com or via telephone on +44 (0) 20-3290-5577

RDA selected for media rights distribution of the British lions tour to South Africa

Lions Tour to South Africa, the joint venture between the British & Irish Lions and SA Rugby, has appointed RDA as its media rights distribution agency for the Tour to South Africa in 2021.

The agreement, which covers Europe excluding UK & Ireland, and France, Canada, Japan, SE Asia, Pacific Islands, MENA, and Inflight/Cruise, is the first-ever appointment of an agency to distribute media rights on behalf of the Lions.

Scheduled for July and August next year, the greatest rugby Tour of all kicks off with five matches against South Africa’s leading provincial and invitational sides, before the Lions take on reigning world champions, the Springboks, for three epic Test matches played in Johannesburg 2 and Cape Town.

RDA selected for media rights distribution of the British lions tour to South Africa
RDA selected for media rights distribution of the British lions tour to South Africa

The Lions will additionally play a historic Test match against Japan in Edinburgh on 26th June 2021, and the Springboks will play two warm-up Test matches, all included in the Lions media rights package.

Ben Calveley, British & Irish Lions Managing Director, commented: “We are very pleased to be partnering with RDA for our international media rights distribution. RDA’s proven track record in rights sales will help advance our strategic objective of increasing our global coverage for the Tour, so more fans than ever before can enjoy watching the action.”

Richard Dennis, RDA CEO, said: “We’re honored to be working with the British & Irish Lions, one of the world’s greatest sports brands. The Lions Tour to South Africa, and the historic match against Japan, will be global media events and we look forward to playing our role in bringing these to a worldwide audience.”

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British and Irish lions to play japan in Edinburgh before Lions tour 2021

The British & Irish Lions will host Japan at BT Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday 26 June 2021 for the Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup.

The first-ever clash between the world’s greatest touring side and the Brave Blossoms will raise the curtain for the Lions’ eagerly awaited Tour to South Africa, which culminates in a three-Test series against Rugby World Cup champions, the Springboks.

Tickets for the historic fixture go on pre-sale on Tuesday 3 November; fans can book Lions vs Japan Tickets on our website xchanhgetickets.com.

British and Irish lions to play japan in Edinburgh before Lions tour 2021
British and Irish lions to play japan in Edinburgh before Lions tour 2021

Lions head coach Warren Gatland believes the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-finalists will provide a stern test for his squad before they depart for South Africa.

“We saw Japan play some excellent rugby during the World Cup and they will come to Edinburgh fully-motivated to win,” said Gatland.

“They are a talented side who play high-tempo rugby, so it’ll be a good challenge for us ahead of the Tour, and a chance for the matchday squad to put their hands up for Test selection.”

Lions managing director Ben Calveley added: “One of our objectives is to give Warren and the playing squad as much meaningful preparation as possible before departing on Tour, so we are delighted to have agreed on this fixture.

“A Lions Test is one of the most iconic events in world sport, but a huge number of fans from the home nations never get the chance to see one live. The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup match will allow even more supporters to be part of the next chapter in Lions history.

British and Irish lions to play japan in Edinburgh before Lions tour 2021

“It will be an ‘I was there’ moment, against an entertaining and highly-respected opposition.”

​Japan head coach Jamie Joseph is also relishing the prospect of the fixture: “We are very much looking forward to playing a Test against the Lions next year.

“It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our players, and we can’t wait for it to come.”

Scottish Rugby’s 67,000-seater stadium in Edinburgh will host the first Lions Test match on ‘home’ soil since playing against Argentina in Cardiff in 2005 and Mark Dodson, chief executive of Scottish Rugby and Lions board director, believes the iconic ground will provide an ideal backdrop for the Test.

“The deep connection Scotland enjoys with the British & Irish Lions has helped to shape the rich history of the team with players, coaches, and support staff all contributing to the success of the side down the years,” said Dodson.

The Lions’ lead partner, Vodafone, who announced their partnership earlier in the year, are excited to be supporting the fixture. Max Taylor, commercial director, Vodafone UK said, “We are proud to be part of this incredible rugby moment and to be able to allow home fans to experience the full force of the Lions on UK soil.”

British and Irish lions to play japan in Edinburgh before Lions tour 2021

The Lions’ eight-game tour to South Africa kicks off on Saturday 3 July 2021 when they play Vodacom Super Rugby’s DHL Stormers in Cape Town. Three weeks later the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg will host the first Test a venue that previously hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final.

The second Test follows on Saturday 31 July at the Cape Town Stadium the first Lions Test in the Mother City since 1997 before the British and Irish tourists return to Gauteng for the final Test on Saturday 7 August at Emirates Airline Park, the venue of the 1995 Rugby World Cup final.

The Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891. In that time, the Lions have won four-Test series, lost eight with one drawn. Their overall record against the Springboks is played 46, won 17, lost 23, and drawn six.

British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC

Buccaneers RFC is more than just a rugby club, it’s a way a life for the people of Athlone. 

Located on the River Shannon, the town in the heart of Ireland’s midlands is inextricably intertwined with the club which has seen generations of families come through its ranks. Rugby fans can book British lions 2021 tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.

Among the players the club has fostered over the years is Ireland international and British & Irish Lions tourist Robbie Henshaw, who became Lion No.824 in New Zealand in 2017. 

Like so many at Buccaneers, Henshaw’s father Tony and uncle David had also played for the club before him – with the latter going on to represent Connacht during the 1990s. 

British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC
British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC

In fact, the importance of family permeates almost every aspect of Buccaneers and it’s the reason why club president Eamon Collins believes rugby runs through the veins in Athlone. 

“Everybody that comes to the club enjoys playing, there is a great sense of community in the club, they come in at under six and they never seem to leave because they like it so much,” he said. 

“There’s great teamwork, discipline, enjoyment and sportsmanship around the place and there’s a real sense of family – that’s what is so great about the club. 

“This is very true of the Henshaws. The Henshaws have been in the club, their father and uncles have played at the club and they have done an awful lot at the club since they started playing. 

“Robbie is still very involved, he’s a great ambassador for our club and we’re very proud of him. Buccaneers is at the heart of Athlone and rugby is everything in Athlone. 

“Everyone wants to play, everyone wants to be involved and the big problem we have is trying to facilitate all these young players as they all want to become the next Robbie Henshaw and Jack Carty. 

“People come and join the club as underage players and when their playing career finishes, they often continue with the club as administrators, coaches, referees and whatever else. 

“It very much passes through the generations. If you look back through the history of the club, it goes from generation to generation like it does with the Henshaws.” 

The club’s name originates from the Shannon Buccaneers, which was founded by Diarmuid Murtagh in the 1930s and fielded players such as 1938 Lions captain Sammy Walker. 

But after World War Two forced the club to fold and be disbanded, it wasn’t until the formation of Athlone Rugby Football Club in 1951 that rugby was revived in the town. 

More recently, in the 1993/94 season, Athlone and Ballinasloe amalgamated to compete in the All-Ireland League before eventually changing their name to Buccaneers RFC. 

British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC

Leo Galvin was one of the people who was instrumental in the alliance with Ballinasloe, which ended in 2005/06, and he was the first Athlone clubman to play senior rugby for Ireland. 

And with Jack Carty and Henshaw since following in the footsteps of Galvin, Buccaneers media officer Michael Silke believes their rise through the ranks has inspired the next generation. 

“We have supplied a number of players to Connacht and a number of lads were in the Connacht squad, including Jack Carty and Robbie Henshaw, when they won the PRO12 title in 2016,” he said.

“Athlone is a garrison town and garrison towns are traditionally soccer towns. We have a lot of competition from Gaelic soccer as we have six very good GAA clubs within five miles. 

“There’s lots of competition for players so the fact that young lads started coming through and wearing the green of Ireland and Robbie and Jack played senior rugby for Ireland was inspiring. 

“We have around 400 kids now at the club, many more than when I first got involved with the club, and we have 25 teams in total from adults and the Under-20s down to the minis. 

“There was great excitement around the place and pride when Robbie was selected for the Lions in 2017. To get players coming through and playing for Ireland U20s was a great achievement. 

“But when you have guys like Robbie making the senior Ireland squad and then being included in the last British & Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand, it was incredible for the club.” 

Buccaneers have enjoyed plenty of success on the field themselves over the years, winning the Connacht Senior League 12 times and the Connacht Senior Cup on eight occasions. 

Among those currently representing the club is first team captain Evan Galvin, who like Henshaw before him, was introduced to Buccaneers through his family’s long association with the club. 

British Irish Lions origin story: family at the heart of success for buccaneers RFC

And Galvin, the nephew of Leo, hopes the example set by Lions tourist Henshaw can keep the conveyer belt of youngsters coming through the ranks at Buccaneers for years to come. 

“There is definitely a family feel to the club. Young kids come down and play and if they enjoy it, they stick at it. There’s also a core volunteer group of parents who support,” he said. 

“It’s great for the club that Robbie and Jack have gone on and represented Ireland. There are lads in the past that have done so too and it shows there’s a good love for the game here. 

“There is development in the Midlands of Ireland, with players going on to represent the club and the province and then the country and the Lions. The club is very proud of the lads. 

“They always give their time to come down and help out with underage sessions. It inspires young lads to play. If you’re a young kid and you see someone like that it’s great. 

“There is a lot of sports that the lads can play at an early age so it’s important these young lads who play rugby are inspired to keep playing and stick at it, be the next Robbie Henshaw. 

“If they can be inspired to keep playing from the younger ages groups through to the first team, that’s a pathway we’ve show is there and it’s important to inspire that next generation.” 

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