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18th Apr 2017

Irish legend reveals the most Irish reaction ever to getting a Lions call up

So typically Irish

Sean McMahon

Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland – there will be a lot of nervous players in these countries on Wednesday.

The pinnacle of many players’ careers is making an appearance for the British & Irish Lions.

It’s not hard to see why.

Representing the Lions means that you are one of the best players among the home nations.

Not only this, but it also means that someone else believes you have the physical and mental capacity to deal with the pressure of wearing that famous red jersey.

So you can understand that there will be a level of anxiety on Wednesday when players await the midday announcement.

Simon Zebo revealed this week that he is only focused on the upcoming match against Saracens.

But it would be naive to think that all players share Zebo’s mindset especially when they don’t have a European Cup semi-final to take the most of their attention.

Shane Byrne spoke to British & Irish Lions TV of his 2005 experience where he played in two of three Test matches against The All Blacks.

“Honestly, I can say as a young guy, I never dreamt of being a Lion because the Lions was always something where the rugby superstars were…the legends of the game…”

“All my dreams were was to get the green jersey on and then all of a sudden you are in a scenario where you are playing for Ireland, you’re there at the right time, there’s a Lions Tour coming up. You’re starting to get mentioned in circles and people are starting to talk about it.”

Byrne then reveals the first thought which went through his head when he received a call from Bill Beaumont confirming his selection – surely this is a wind-up….

“And then all of a sudden you get the call from Bill Beaumont and you do what nearly every Irish lad does, you go ‘yeeah,¬†who’s this really?’, eventually he convinces you that it’s him. Then you do everything you can to do your best for that jersey, right from that moment you get the call.”


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