With just less than one month to go until the inaugural IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition, the IRB has announced the rugby greats who will be inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame at the prestigious event – and former Ireland captain and coach Ronnie Dawson is among them.
Taking place on Monday, November 18 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, the IRB Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be the eighth of the series and induct a total of 11 legends of the game under the theme, ‘the British & Irish Lions and Australia’.
The six Australian inductees are: Thomas Lawton snr, John Thornett, Ken Catchpole, Mark Ella, David Campese and George Gregan.
The other five inductees are Robert Seddon and the 1888 British team, David Bedell-Sivright, Bleddyn Williams and Jack Matthews, Ronnie Dawson and Gavin Hastings.
For the first time, the IRB Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place alongside the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition, guaranteeing a star-studded line-up including many high-profile names from the world of international rugby, and the newly-inducted Ronnie Dawson, Gavin Hastings, Mark Ella and George Gregan.
Alfred Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Dawson
Born: 1932 in Dublin, Ireland
International career: 1958-1965
An architect by trade, Dawson played for the Wanderers club in Dublin, Leinster, Ireland and the Barbarians. He won the first of his 27 Irish caps against Australia in 1958 and was selected for the Lions in 1959.
An outstanding leader of men he captained his club, province, country and the 1959 Lions on their tour of Australia (six matches), New Zealand (25 matches) and Canada (two matches). A keen Barbarian he played 22 times for the club without fixed abode and captained them on several occasions, including their historic win over South Africa in 1961 – the only defeat of the tour.
He made the first of his 17 Lions appearances against Victoria, leading the Lions in six Test matches, a record since equalled by Martin Johnson. The 1959 Lions played a similar attacking brand of rugby pioneered by the 1950 tourists, running the ball at every opportunity. They scored 842 points in 33 matches, a record for a Lions team.
Dawson was unavailable to tour South Africa with the Lions in 1962, but was appointed assistant manager/coach of the 1968 Lions captained by Tom Kiernan. He became an Irish and Lions selector and was appointed as the first coach of Ireland in 1969.
He became President of Wanderers, Leinster and the Irish Rugby Football Union and chaired the IRB Council, on which he served for 20 years (1974 to 1994).
He was the member of the first Rugby World Cup Organising Committee. He was received with the IRB Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service in 2004.
Click here for profiles of all 11 of the 2013 IRB Hall of Fame inductees.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The 2013 inductions include pioneers and playing greats from the Lions v. Australia series, who have not only excited but inspired many generations of players, fans and coaches.
“The IRB Hall of Fame honours those that have shown outstanding dedication and commitment to rugby as well as rewarding Unions and other organisations that have contributed so much to growing our sport around the world.
“With these exciting inductions taking place alongside the inaugural IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition, I look forward to welcoming the international rugby community to Dublin for what will be a spectacular celebration of rugby and those that have contributed so much to our sport over the years.”
The inaugural IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition has been created to become a leading forum to discuss the emerging topics in the international rugby community in the lead up to the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup, the 2014 Rugby World Cup and the return of rugby to the Olympic Games programme in 2016.
The IRB Hall of Fame was launched in 2006 with the induction of Rugby School and William Webb Ellis. Since then a number of legends have been inducted, including the following Irishmen: Jack Kyle, Anthony O’Reilly, Syd Millar, Willie John McBride, Mike Gibson and now Ronnie Dawson.
The IRB Hall of Fame induction panel, chaired by IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset, includes Gerald Davies, Nigel Starmer-Smith, Henri Garcia, Don Cameron and Pablo Mamone, Chris Rea, Jim Webster and Panel Secretary Chris Thau.
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