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."
Looking forward to facing England on Sunday, Ireland winger Tommy Bowe said: "We've trained very well this week, we're really excited about the game. It's about going out there and doing whatever we can to get ourselves that win."
Second row Devin Toner previews Ireland's crunch RBS 6 Nations clash with England, saying: "It's a pretty formidable English pack. Attwood and Kruis have played fantastically well. They're well drilled and focused and their scrum and lineout are very good."
Looking forward to facing England this weekend, Ireland back rower Sean O'Brien said: "It's obviously exciting, but it's one game at a time. I don't think there's any more pressure on us than in the first two games. That's the way you have to look at it."
Irish Rugby TV sat down with Ireland Under-20 scrum coach John Fogarty to talk about the U-20 Six Nations so far and Friday's clash with England at Donnybrook. Tickets are on sale on www.ticketmaster.ie.
Ireland Under-20 captain Nick McCarthy and fellow back Billy Dardis spoke to Irish Rugby TV about Friday's U-20 Six Nations showdown with England at Donnybrook. Tickets available on www.ticketmaster.ie.
Shane Byrne and Malcolm O'Kelly preview the Ireland v England Legends match which takes place at Donnybrook this coming Saturday (kick-off 7.30pm). Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.ie. All proceeds from the game will go to support the IRFU Charitable Trust and the RFU All Schools Charity.
Watch highlights from the Ireland team announcement press conference as Joe Schmidt reveals the team to play France. Peter O'Mahony says it is good to 'have some big figures back' for Saturday's clash.
Ireland Under-20 centre Garry Ringrose said the squad were 'delighted' to run in seven tries away to Italy. He also previews the French match and talks about his involvement in a previous Ireland senior training camp.