Dr Syd Millar, Sir Anthony O’Reilly and Willie John McBride, three true legends of Irish rugby, were inducted into the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame at a special ceremony at Rugby School in England on Tuesday.
Hearty congratulations to Syd Millar, Tony O’Reilly and Willie John McBride on receiving the honour. They join Dr Jack Kyle, the only Irishman previously inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame, on a list of some of the most treasured players in world rugby history.
The International Rugby Board inducted nine legends into the IRB Hall of Fame at a special ceremony at Rugby School in England, celebrating the rich history of British & Irish Lions tours to South Africa.
The Inductees spanned the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries and are, in order of their induction:
12. William E. Maclagan (Scotland and British)
13. Barry H. Heatlie (South Africa)
14. Benjamin L. Osler (South Africa)
15. Clifford I. Morgan (Wales and Lions)
16. Sir Anthony J.F. O’Reilly A.O (Ireland and Lions)
17. Frederick C.H. du Preez (South Africa)
18. Dr Sydney Millar CBE (Ireland and Lions)
19. William J. McBride (Ireland and Lions)
20. Ian R. McGeechan (Scotland and Lions)
To view profiles of the nine 2009 inductees, please click here.
The 2009 induction in the Temple Speech Room also included the inaugural IRB Lecture, given by IRB Council member and 2009 Lions Manager Gerald Davies on the British & Irish Lions and the spirit of rugby.
This year witnessed the 13th Lions tour to South Africa and provided another memorable chapter in a rich history, which began 118 years ago when William Maclagan led his British team to South Africa in 1891.
In his lecture, Davies said: “The Lions reflect what we think of as camaraderie and the sense of fun in togetherness which are major selling points in rugby. There is no division, no exclusion of one set of supporters from another, no barriers.
“The Lions represent the last of the rugby adventures. Ask any player who has been on a Lions tour, his views are expressed with reverence as a treasured moment.
“Those who have not been wish that they had, or given another chance will go next time.”
Members of the public were invited to vote on nominees from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, giving rugby fans around the world an opportunity to recognise their most treasured players.
These votes were then compiled before the IRB Hall of Fame Induction Panel, comprising Don Cameron (New Zealand), Gerald Davies (Wales), Henri Garcia (France), Norman Mair (Scotland), Pablo Mamone (Argentina) and Nigel Starmer-Smith (England), and the nine legends were then selected for induction into the IRB Hall of Fame for 2009.
“It has been a great pleasure to return to Rugby School and this historic setting has provided the inductees with yet another memorable occasion in their illustrious Rugby careers,” said IRB Vice Chairman Bill Beaumont.
“It has been my great honour and privilege to present the inductees and their representatives whose names are synonymous with the proud history and relationship between South Africa and the Lions.”
Previous IRB Hall of Fame inductees:
2006 – William Webb Ellis and Rugby School
2007 – Baron Pierre de Coubertin, Sir Wilson Whineray, Dr. Danie Craven, Gareth Edwards and John Eales
2008 – 1888 Natives Team of New Zealand and Joe Warbrick, Melrose RFC and Ned Haig, Dr. Jack Kyle, Hugo Porta and Philippe Sella