The British & Irish Lions today announced the appointment of Tom Grace as Chairman of the Lions Board.
Tom Grace succeeds Gerald Davies who had chaired the Lions Board since September 2010 and was previously British & Irish Lions manager for the 2009 tour to South Africa.
Grace, who is a senior independent director with Paddy Power Plc, is currently Honorary Treasurer of the IRFU and a former Ireland International (25 caps, with eight games as captain).
He was part of the famous British & Irish Lions squad on the 1974 tour to South Africa. By the end of that voyage, he had amassed an impressive tally of 11 appearances and 52 points.
"It is an honour to be appointed Chairman of the British & Lions," commented Grace. "The Lions represent the core values of our sport and I am grateful for the opportunity to represent them as Chairman.
"It is a privilege to take over from Gerald Davies, who has been a wonderful ambassador for the Lions both as a player, tour manager and more recently as Chairman."
John Spencer will be appointed tour manager for the 2017 tour to New Zealand, taking over the duties from Andy Irvine who managed the successful 2013 tour to Australia.
Spencer is the RFU representative on the Lions Board since 2008. He was the RFU representative on the Six Nations Council from 2011 to 2013 and has been on the IRB Board since 2011.
He is a former England captain, Barbarian (18 games as captain) and toured New Zealand and Australia with the Lions in 1971 where he played 10 matches.
"It is a huge privilege and honour to represent the Lions as tour manager, 46 years after I did so as a player," said Spencer. "My predecessor Andy Irvine did a fantastic job in Australia and I am looking forward to following in his footsteps."
The Ireland Under-18 and Under-19 squads had a busy Easter period with seven matches played in Ashbourne, Cardiff, Llanelli, Caerphilly and Bordeaux. Check out some of the tries scored. Full match reports are available on www.irishrugby.ie.
Speaking to RTE Radio rugby correspondent Michael Corcoran, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt was asked about prioritising players playing in Ireland when it comes to national selection over those who are based overseas.
In an interview broadcast on RTE Radio 1's 'Sunday Sport' programme, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by the summer tour to the USA and Japan, and also looked ahead to next month's Rugby World Cup Pool Draw.
Speaking about working with the provinces and monitoring players' progress, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt told RTE Radio 1: "For us, having the best quality of performance within the provinces, getting some really good coaching from the provincial coaches, which we know is happening at the moment, that's the foundation that we need because in the end we get the players in a match week pretty much."
In an interview with RTE Radio rugby correspondent Michael Corcoran, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt confirmed that Girvan Dempsey, Felix Jones and Ronan O'Gara will be incorporated into the coaching group for the upcoming summer tour to the USA and Japan.
IRFU National Talent Development Manager Hendrik Kruger says the Easter age-grade internationals give the Ireland Under-18 and Under-19 players 'the chance to represent their country and experience international rugby' and are 'the highlight of their season'.
The Ireland Under-18 Clubs & Schools team (sponsored by PwC) played the England U-18 Counties side in the first of two matches at Ashbourne RFC this week. Check out the highlights from Wednesday's entertaining clash.
Four of our stadiums through the eyes of four Irish sporting legends. O'Driscoll on Aviva Stadium, Brogan on Croke Park, Matthews on Kingspan Stadium and O'Connell on Thomond Park. The world is invited #Ireland2023.
Irish Rugby TV caught up with flanker Sean O'Brien to get his reaction following Ireland's hard-earned 13-9 victory over RBS 6 Nations champions England. He singled out man-of-the-match Peter O'Mahony for special praise.
Peter O'Mahony reflects on what went wrong for Ireland in Cardiff and tells Irish Rugby TV that he is focusing on the squad and their work this week ahead of the final Six Nations game against England.
The Ireland squad paid a visit to Monaghan last week and held an open training session in Monaghan RFC. We spoke to Andrew Trimble after the session which was attended by over 2,000 cheering supporters.