British & Irish Lions
The heroes of 1997 - Where are they now?
June 19, 2009

With the class of 2009 set to kick off their Test series against South Africa in Durban on Saturday, we take a look at what became of the last Lions to tackle the Springboks. The 1997 tourists, led by Martin Johnson and coached by Ian McGeechan, won the Test series against the World Champions 2-1 and featured a cast of characters that have entered in to Lions folklore.

Martin Johnson (capt) - Captained the Lions again in 2001 in Australia before leading England to Rugby World Cup glory in 2003. Johnson was appointed as England manager in 2008.

Neil Jenkins - The Welshman went on to score more than 1,000 points for Wales, for a time the world record, before taking up coaching duties with Wales. Jenkins is also serving as kicking coach with the 2009 Lions.

Tim Stimpson - A Heineken Cup winner with Leicester, Stimpson has coached at Nuneaton and Nottingham and is also actively involved in several charities and personal speaking.

Allan Bateman - The former Wales centre is still playing amateur rugby at the age of 44, latterly lining up for Bridgend club Heol-y-Cyw. Works in Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

Nick Beal - Remains closely involved with Guinness Premiership side Northampton, the club from which he won England and Lions honours, serving as a non-executive director under the chairmanship of Keith Barwell. Works as an independent financial advisor.

John Bentley - 'Bentos' now works as community marketing manager for Leeds Carnegie, and is also a successful after-dinner speaker following his heroics in South Africa. Played and coached his home town club Cleckheaton during run of promotions through the national league system.

Ieuan Evans - Retired from playing after helping Bath to the 1999 Heineken Cup, beginning a successful career in the media as a television pundit.

Scott Gibbs - Famously scored Wales' winning try that denied England the Five Nations title at Wembley in 1999. Still involved in rugby on radio and television, while he was a driving force behind the Help for Heroes charity match earlier this season, and also recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for charity with South Africa's 1995 World Cup-winning captain Francois Pienaar.

Will Greenwood - Has enjoyed a successful career post-rugby as a television pundit, retiring after the 2005 Lions tour. Was a World Cup-winner with England in 2003 and is part of the Rugby Football Union delegation bidding to stage the 2015 World Cup in England.

Jeremy Guscott - Has worked as a BBC rugby pundit for several years alongside the likes of Jonathan Davies and Andy Nicol, notably during the autumn Tests and Six Nations Championship.

Alan Tait - Current defence coach of Guinness Premiership club Newcastle, having previously held a similar role with the Scotland national squad.

Tony Underwood - Commercial airline pilot who has worked for easyjet and Virgin Atlantic. Lives in the French town of Evian-les-Bains, near the Swiss border.

Paul Grayson - Assistant coach at Northampton, having helped them land the Heineken Cup as England's second winners of that tournament nine years ago, kicking three penalties in a 9-8 win over Munster.

Gregor Townsend - Still involved on the international rugby stage, having been appointed as Scotland backs coach four months ago by recently-departed head coach Frank Hadden.

Austin Healey - A Heineken Cup winner with Leicester, and s TV pundit after his retirement, Healey is father of four daughters and reached the quarter-finals of BBC Television's Strictly Come Dancing series last year with partner Erin Boag.

Rob Howley - His post-1997 playing career included a Premiership title and Heineken Cup glory with Wasps. Employed as Wales attack coach, he is part of the Lions coaching team in South Africa this summer.

Matt Dawson - Has worked extensively for the BBC, fronting his own radio programme on rugby and is also a team captain on the long-running television series A Question of Sport.

Tom Smith - Enjoyed a successful career with Scotland and Northampton, and retired from playing at the end of this season. Bowed out with a win in the European Challenge Cup final against Bourgoin on May 22.

Jason Leonard - Went on to secure more than 100 caps for England and a World Cup-winners medal, and now enjoys a high-profile role off the pitch in various guises, including an administrative one with the Rugby Football Union.

Graham Rowntree - Former Leicester prop works with Martin Johnson and the England set-up as scrummaging coach, a role he has filled on this summer's Lions tour.

Dai Young - Highly-respected head coach of Cardiff Blues, steering them into this season's Heineken Cup semi-finals and victory in the EDF Energy Cup final.

Paul Wallace - An unsung hero during the 1997 tour, making the Test team, he has forged a career as a television pundit after retiring. His brother, David, will pack down on the openside for the 2009 Lions in the first Test.

Keith Wood - A successful businessman, who is also in demand through the rugby media. Does work for the BBC and has been a national newspaper columnist. Hobbies include beekeeping.

Barry Williams - The first player to make 100 appearances for the Ospreys, he retired from playing last year following a number of operations. Appointed the first Ospreys ambassador, working with the Welsh region entertaining corporate clients, and also coaches at Llandeilo Rugby Club.

Mark Regan - Likely to go into coaching next season after retiring from playing with Bristol at the end of the current campaign. England World Cup squad member in 2003 and 2007.

Jeremy Davidson - Like his fellow Irishman Wallace, a surprise Test team inclusion 12 years ago who rose to the challenge superbly. Now in coaching, having worked with French club Castres, but set for a summer return to his former province Ulster as forwards coach.

Simon Shaw - Will return to South Africa this year for his third Lions tour. Still packing down for Wasps and England in the second-row.

Doddie Weir - Enjoys a successful role on the after-dinner speaking circuit. A regular attendee at Scotland internationals, who also does corporate work with his former club Newcastle.

Richard Hill - Retired from playing with Saracens last year after a superb display in helping them in to the Heineken Cup semi-finals, but remains involved with the club. Recovered from injury to play in the 2003 World Cup semi-final and final for England.

Neil Back - After winding down his World Cup-winning playing career, former Leicester flanker Back is now head coach of Leeds Carnegie, whom he guided to promotion back in to the Premiership this season.

Eric Miller - After retiring from rugby, he played Gaelic Football for Dublin and also coached in Ireland's capital city with Old Wesley Rugby Club.

Lawrence Dallaglio - Brought the curtain down on an illustrious World Cup-winning career last year by helping Wasps win the Guinness Premiership title at Twickenham. Also a double Heineken Cup winner, and now a key off-the-field player at Wasps.

Tim Rodber - Important member of Northampton's Heineken Cup-winning team, he has carved out a hugely successful business career in the corporate information sector, spending time working as a chief operations officer in America.

Scott Quinnell - Won more than 50 caps for Wales and toured again with the Lions in 2001. Has coached at senior club level in Wales, and can be seen regularly as a television pundit.

Rob Wainwright - Former Scotland captain runs a farm and bed and breakfast on the Hebridean Isle of Coll, which has a population of just 160.


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