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."
Ulster and Ireland prop Declan Fitzpatrick is to retire from rugby on medical grounds. The 31-year-old played 98 times for Ulster and made seven Test appearances for Ireland, three of which were against the All Blacks. He also represented the Ireland Wolfhounds on nine occasions.
Ireland will face an interesting kind of pressure when they take on the Barbarians next month says Donncha O'Callaghan. The Munster and Ireland lock played against the famous invitational side when Ireland were beaten 29-23 at Thomond Park five years ago - then helped the Barbarians beat a young England team 39-29 last summer.
They needed a 27-point winning margin against Scotland. They got that and more. The Ireland Women's team captured their second Women's RBS 6 Nations title in style at Broadwood Stadium - relive their Championship winning day in our exclusive video.
It was nail-biting, nerve shredding and epic! Relive Ireland's RBS 6 Nations Championship day from the squad's arrival at Murrayfield to the trophy presentation in our exclusive tunnel and pitch cam video.
Larissa Muldoon, now a two-time Women's RBS 6 Nations winner, is part of an all-Donegal half-back pairing for the Ireland Women. She spoke to Irish Rugby TV about the developing clubs in her own county.
Ireland Women's lock Orla Fitzsimons describes how she was a supporter in the stands for the 2013 Grand Slam success, and now, two years on, she has a Women's RBS 6 Nations winners' medal around her neck.
Niamh Briggs had a day to remember as she captained the Ireland Women's team to RBS 6 Nations title glory. The Waterford star, who scored the first try in the 73-3 win over Scotland, spoke to Irish Rugby TV afterwards.
Paying tribute to the Ireland supporters at Murrayfield, RBS 6 Nations winner Luke Fitzgerald said: "Thanks a million to the fans from the all guys. They were fantastic. We really felt their support out there, they were the '16th man' and helped us get over the line."
Sean O'Brien scored two tries and produced a man-of-the-match performance as Ireland beat Scotland 40-10 to finish top of the table and retain the RBS 6 Nations title. He spoke to Irish Rugby TV afterwards.
Speaking to Irish Rugby TV after the trophy presentation, RBS 6 Nations winner Robbie Henshaw said: "Words can't describe it...just the whole atmosphere, everyone in the stadium, just the way it ended out. It was pretty intense, the heart was rushing."
Enjoying the post-match celebrations at Murrayfield, RBS 6 Nations winner Rory Best said: "It's been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, the last hour. The crowd have been absolutely incredible. We're just delighted to give something back to them."