Spencer handed Lions role

Date published: July 30 2014

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John Spencer will once again be a British & Irish Lion, 46 years after he toured as a player, as tour manager in New Zealand for 2017.

John Spencer will once again be a British & Irish Lion, 46 years after he toured as a player, following his appointment as tour manager for 2017.

The Lions will visit reigning world champions New Zealand in search of back-to-back series wins, following a 2-1 triumph in Australia in 2013.

Spencer, 66, will follow in the footsteps of countrymen Fran Cotton and Bill Beaumont as the third English Lions tour manager in rugby's professional era.

And the former England captain, who toured New Zealand in 1971, will be joined by ex-Ireland winger Tom Grace, who is the new chairman of the British & Irish Lions board.

“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.”

Grace, meanwhile, was with the Lions in 1974 – touring South Africa – and won 25 caps for Ireland.

“It is an honour to be appointed chairman of the British & Irish Lions,” said 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 as a player, tour manager and more recently as chairman.”

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