Leinster, Ireland and British & Irish Lions’ legends – Fergus Slattery and Paul Wallace – treated rugby fans to an insight on what makes the Lions so special, at an HSBC Lions Legends Dinner in Dublin recently…

Slattery and Wallace were joined by one of the other greats of the rugby world – Gareth Edwards – at a special dinner to vote for the greatest ever Lions XV.

As well as sharing their memories and thoughts on Lions Tours gone by, both Wallace and Slattery were excited about this summer’s Tour to South Africa – the first in 12 years.

All three have been part of a successful British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa (Edwards and Slattery in 1974 and Wallace in 1997).

Reflecting on his 1997 experience, Paul Wallace said, “The Tour was truly amazing. We went as complete underdogs and thinking of past Lions Tours to South Africa and their success really spurred us on. Given the new age of professionalism, a lot of people were saying this could be the last Lions Tour so we all wanted to do as well as we could. There was such a unique bond amongst the squad. The players in the mid week team were totally supportive of the test players – there was no jealousy. Every single player just wanted the whole squad to win.”

Fergus Slattery agreed that playing for the Lions is something truly unique. “The Lions is as special today as it was back in the fifties. Back then the tour was six months long but now the squad will have to really hit the ground running. There is no greater competition than for the 2009 squad – they are playing against the World Champions who are incredibly strong. I hope the Lions lives for a long time to come.”

The three legends were at a dinner in a series of events to choose the greatest ever Lions Legends XV. So far JPR Williams, JJ Williams and Gerald Davies have been inducted. Last night’s dinner was to choose the two greatest ever Lions centres. The winners will be announced in the Daily Telegraph newspaper next week.

HSBC, the sponsor of the dinner, is the Principal Partner of the British & Irish Lions Tour to South Africa this summer.

To find out more Click Here