British & Irish Lions
What became of the Lions of 2001?
June 13, 2013
The 2001 British & Irish Lions Squad © Getty Images
Twelve years ago, 37 British & Irish Lions players boarded the plane to Australia. More than a decade on, we look back at that crop of players and provide an update on what they have been up to since 2001.
Top Row- (left to right)
The majestic winger scored a memorable try in the Lions' first Test against the Wallabies and after winning the World Cup in 2003, toured again with the Lions in 2005. He hung up his Sale Sharks boots at the end of 2007 and is now a director of a clothing company and an ambassador for HSBC.
Healey finished his career with 51 caps for England and a host of silverware with the Leicester Tigers. He has worked as a TV analyst since 2001 including a spell with ESPN.
Brian O'Driscoll on Manly Beach back in 2001 © Getty Images
He started all three Tests for the Lions and the former Bath No.15 is still England's most capped fullback. He hung up his boots in 2007 and can now be found in the City.
He finished his career with 37 caps for Wales and was named caretaker coach of the national side in 2009 for their summer tour while Warren Gatland was on Lions duty. He has since acted as their assistant coach and will lead them to Japan in June.
O'Driscoll is still playing at the highest level with Leinster and Ireland and is a member of the current Lions squad Down Under. He also toured with the Lions to New Zealand in 2005, as captain, and South Africa in 2009. His try against the Wallabies in the first Test against Australia in '01 will live long in the memory.
Greening now spends some of his time as a television pundit and the rest on the coaching field. He has had spells as London Welsh head coach and also as the Scotland Sevens' coach.
Wilkinson kicked England to World Cup glory in 2003 and toured with the Lions in 2005. He is now turning out for Toulon in France and has signed on for another season with the Top 14 club.
Rob Henderson enjoys some tennis in Townsville © PA Photos
O'Gara is Ireland's most-capped player with 128 caps and a Munster legend who called time on his playing career at the end of last season. He toured with the Lions in 2005 and 2009, earning two caps in the process, and will begin his coaching career with French side Racing Metro next season.
Luger was part of England's 2003 World Cup-winning squad and finished his career in France with spells at Toulon and Nice. He is now working in Monaco as a trader for an investment management company.
Henderson was part of the early Toulon revolution and was there for three years from 2006. In total he earned 32 caps for Ireland and had spells with London Irish, Wasps, Leinster and Munster. He now works in the City as a banker.
The former centre retired in 2008 and had spells with the Ospreys, Sale Sharks and Llanelli. He is current the Welsh Under-20's team manager and has spent time in chartered accounting.
Austin Healey interviews Phil Vickery while at the Neighbours set © PA Photos
Back started the second and third Tests for the Lions and also toured in 2005. He has a World Cup medal to his name following 2003 and spent time coaching both Leeds and Edinburgh.
Morris featured in the third Test as a substitute and finished his career with 18 caps for Wales. He made a host of appearances for Leicester and Worcester and can now be found coaching Russia's forwards.
One of England's best ever front-rowers, Vickery was named on the 2005 tour but did not travel due to injury. But along with the three caps he earned in 2001, he also added two in 2009. He won the World Cup in 2003 and skippered England in 2007 and can now be found working part-time at Worcester alongside managing his clothing business.
Cohen won the World Cup in 2003 and finished his career with 57 caps for England. After his time at Northampton he had spells with Brive and then Sale. He is now head of the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, a charity he created to combat homophobia and bullying.
Rob Howley scores against Western Australia © Getty Images
Wales' all-time most-capped flanker hung up his boots in 2012. He toured with the Lions again in both 2005 and 2009 and earned four caps in the process.
Howley started the first two Tests in 2001 and finished his career with 59 caps for Wales. Since then he has moved into coaching and is the current interim Wales coach and is touring with the Lions this summer as part of Warren Gatland's backroom staff.
Catt was also part of the 2003 vintage and turned out for England four years later at the World Cup in France. He coached at London Irish and is now part of the England backroom staff under Stuart Lancaster.
Iain Balshaw, Danny Grewcock and Neil Back emerge from the Sydney surf © PA Photos
Hill started the first two Tests for the Lions and travelled again in 2005. He was part of the victorious 2003 England side and retired in 2008. He then took up a post within the Saracens academy but left the club at the end of last season.
Richard Hill tries to take down Dafydd James in training © PA Photos
The winger-come-fullback had spells with Bath, Leeds and Gloucester and can now be found tearing up the Top 14 with Biarritz.
James used to be the top try-scorer in the Heineken Cup and has played for Llanelli, Cardiff Blues, Sale and Harlequins. He is now a head hunter working in the United Arab Emirates.
The formidable second-row played again for the Lions in 2005 and eventually decided to retire in 2011. He is now in charge of Bath's academy, the club he played for ten years.
His tour had barely started when he was sent home injured but Taylor went on to have a successful career with Scotland where he won 66 caps. He had a lengthy spell with Stade Francais and more recently Bath.
Scott Murray and Jeremy Davidson enjoy meeting Holly Valance © PA Photos
He failed to make a Test appearance during 2001 and was called up for New Zealand duty four years later but missed the trip due to injury. He called time on his career in 2010 and now works in the medical industry.
Murray is still playing and can be found at recently relegated Top 14 side Mont-de-Marsan. He holds a dual role as both player and forwards coach and has also had spells with Castres, Montauban, Edinburgh, Saracens and Bedford Blues.
The No.8 started all three Tests in 2001 and finished his career with 52 caps for Wales. He now works as a pundit for Sky Sports and is also involved with their School of Hard Knocks series.
Greenwood was part of the triumphant 2003 England crop and played two Tests for the Lions in 2005. He retired in 2006 and is now a pundit for Sky Sports and writes for the Daily Telegraph.
Colin Charvis shows off his efforts at the shooting range © PA Photos
Charvis played in two Tests in 2001 and retired from the game in 2009 with 94 caps for Wales to his name. He is in Australia come the summer as an ambassador for a tour company while he also spends time in charge of his flooring company.
Part of the Wales and Lions coaching set-up, Jenkins called time on his career in 2004 having toured with the Lions in 1997 and 2001. He scored a record 1049 points for his country from his 87 caps.
A veteran of three Lions tours, Dawson started all three Tests in 1997, one in 2001 and made two appearances from the bench in 2005. He is now a pundit for the BBC and is heavily involved in the food market.
© PA Photos
Probably the most famous player in Wasps' history, Dallaglio was the focal point of their dominant spell in the noughties. He heads up a charity and also spends time as a rugby pundit. He started all three Tests for the Lions in 1997 but injury prevented him from adding to these caps in 2001 and 2005.
Davidson failed to play a Test in 2001 but played all three in 1997. He retired from the game in 2003 following a freak knee injury and is now head coach at Aurillac in France's PROD2.
Martin Johnson, Graham Henry and Keith Wood line up for the snappers © PA Photos
The man who skippered the Lions in 1997 and 2001 also captained England to the World Cup in 2003. He retired in and coached England from 2008 to 2011 but left after a disastrous World Cup in New Zealand.
Wood played five Tests for the Lions during the 1997 and 2001 tours and finished his career with Ireland having collected 58 caps. He is now a television pundit and pens columns for the Daily Telegraph.
Smith holds the rare distinction of having played all six Tests on both the 1997 and 2001 tours and retired at the end of the 2008-09 season. He is now forwards coach at Lyon having held a similar role at Edinburgh.
The Welsh prop toured with the Lions in 1989, 1997 and 2001 and collected three Test caps. After retiring, he took on the coaching reins at the Cardiff Blues and is now presiding over Wasps.
England's all-time record appearance holder, Leonard toured with the Lions in 1993, 1997 and 2001. He can now be found in charge of his own building networking business.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.