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 Women's team played their first ever November Test match at the Twickenham Stoop last Saturday. We take a look back at the journey as Ireland capped nine new players in a rain-swept London.
Ireland Women's head coach Tom Tierney said that despite an 8-3 loss to England in their autumn international, the team put in an 'outstanding' effort and to get nine new caps on the pitch is 'a massive boost'.
Head coach Tom Tierney spoke to Irish Rugby TV about the Ireland Women's historic November international clash with England on Saturday. Ireland have eleven new caps in the squad as they build towards the Six Nations.
Ireland Women's second row Sophie Spence talks to Irish Rugby TV about being nominated for the World Rugby Women's Player of the Year honour. The winner will be announced at the World Rugby Awards at Battersea Evolution in London on Sunday.
There are three enforced changes to the Ireland team to play Argentina, with Iain Henderson, Jordi Murphy and Chris Henry all coming in up front. Watch as head coach Joe Schmidt announces the side for the quarter-final and flanker Henry talks about his inclusion.
Previewing Ireland's quarter-final clash with Argentina, hooker Rory Best said: "We've trained well and prepared well. It's a massive game. For us, it's going to need another step up from where we were last week against France. I think that's exciting. As a player, you want to be pushed to the end of your ability and there's no doubt Argentina will do that."
Ireland Women's head coach Tom Tierney, scrum coach Derek Dowling and captain Niamh Briggs talk about their open training session at Kingspan Stadium and preparations for next month's clash with England and the 2016 Women's Six Nations.
'It's a quiet presence that takes up a lot of space' - Joe Schmidt spoke today about the impact of losing Paul O'Connell and his inspirational role in the Ireland squad. The head coach also commented on the incredible contribution of Jared Payne and Peter O'Mahony.
Robbie Henshaw, who starred in the centre against France, talks about Paul O'Connell's influence on him, calling the Limerick man a 'true inspirational leader' and 'a massive loss' to the Ireland squad following his tournament-ending hamstring injury.
Ireland team manager Michael Kearney issues an update on the injuries suffered by Peter O'Mahony, Paul O'Connell and Jonathan Sexton, while full-back Rob Kearney reflects on the 24-9 pool win over France.