As is often the case during a Lions tour we cast our eyes back to previous tours and consider the relative state of the game. Of course when we do we often pine after those times which seemed to encapsulate the spirit and ethos of our beloved game which is sometimes forgotten in a modern era of professional rugby.
There was a lot to be said for those times. Many clubs have and are in the process of re-establishing those core values. One such club is Terenure College RFC who refocused their club on the community and away from the truly professional side of the game.
They have gone back to old fashioned community spirit and of course a lot of hard work by the grassroots members and players to ensure the club keeps itself grounded in those very same core values.
Along with re-establishing their core values of rugby, Terenure are also reuniting most of the legendary 1971 Lions on Saturday, September 7 at a gala dinner event which anyone with a love of the game can attend.
One of their members, Mick Hipwell, who played 12 times for Ireland, was selected for the 1971 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand. He played six times while on tour and would have played more but for injury curtailing his pitch time.
To this day, the 1971 Lions remain the only squad to have won a Test series in New Zealand. The squad contained legends of the game such as Gareth Edwards, Barry John, Gerald Davies, JPR Williams, Willie John McBride, Mike Gibson and many more from that wonderful era of international rugby.
Originally this was billed as an event that would give the club a chance to honour one of its own in a luxury marquee at their club. So large has been the demand for tables in recent weeks that they have moved the event to the Burlington Hotel, one of the few venues in Dublin big enough to stage the event.
For many who attend this could well be a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet with some of the true legends of the game of rugby and surely a night that will never be forgotten.
Thankfully, the new venue sees the release of additional tables for the event to cater for those looking to join the occasion – go to www.tcrfc.ie/1971lions or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Taking things a step further, one of the club members struck upon the idea of making this event more than just a dinner.
Rugby was the key ingredient that brought them together all those years ago so it is just common sense to celebrate such a reunion with a rugby tournament.
So as a part of this great reunion, Terenure College RFC are running an international Under-20 Sevens tournament to coincide with the gala dinner on September 7.
The initial focus of the invitations has been the 20 clubs of where those 1971 Lions players were/are members, with a number of clubs having several players on that Lions tour.
Invitations went out in the last week and no doubt many will send a team for what will be great rugby and social occasion for any player.
Other invitations are also going out and the tournament is open to any club interested, with the information pack available by emailing email@example.com, or by visiting www.tcrfc.ie/sevens or the Terenure Sevens Facebook page.
Given the theme here of going back to core values, a number of charities will benefit from this tournament, including the Lions Charitable Trust, two national charities and one local charity.
And so we have it, on Saturday, September 7, over 30 members of that famous 1971 Lions are getting together for a reunion organised by Terenure College RFC.
Hopefully they will be on hand to see the young members of their clubs playing in what has the makings for being a wonderful rugby-themed weekend to kickstart the season in some style.
It has to be said that this is some achievement as the squad have not had a reunion of this scale for some time and it could be a few years before they venture to have another one. That point has not gone unnoticed by many, but thankfully with the bigger venue you can still join the occasion.
For further information go to www.tcrfc.ie/events – you will find details of how to book your place at the reunion or enter a team in the tournament.