I’m really pleased to be able to contribute to this special LEADERSHIP MMXXI issue of maniF3sto. The property and construction industries have a very strong connection to rugby and as we thankfully come out of a challenging time for all of us, these industries in the UK will be a major driver for our economy and our future living.
With that in mind and all the challenges we’ve had there really could not be a better time for one of life’s great sporting institutions to embark on its own great challenge. A Lions Tour is very special and although this one will be unique in that it won’t be played in front of the usual sea of red that make up our travelling fans, we’re very fortunate that we’re able to stage it and we know that it will be an incredible binding force for the millions of rugby fans watching around the world.
Sport is a great metaphor for life. You can’t succeed in team sport without good leadership and you can’t succeed either without good teamship. The British and Irish Lions is very special for lots of reasons. We are mindful of the heritage and history that has gone before us and also of the legacy we leave for those who follow. We are also mission focused on the now – and that is to win the Test Series.
This time, it’s against the world champions on their home soil. They are already a unit. Trained, led and teamed to win. We are our history and heritage about to bind a group of players from four different countries into one team. We have to lead them, coach them and train them to beat the world champions in just a few weeks and a handful of matches. That is the the challenge of the Lions and one that is met every four years.
These are not ordinary players. They are selected for the task. All of them are leaders in their own right.
“ A Lions Test Team typically includes over half a dozen players who already captain their clubs or countries.”
They bring all that experience and become Lions entering into the ethos and tradition of the famous red jersey.
Alun Wyn Jones has the honour of being this Tour’s Lions Captain. We are not short of leadership – a Lions Test Team is blending that leadership from every corner of the pitch and focusing it on one objective. Winning.
That is done in a way that is unique to the Lions and is what makes the Lions a very special experience.
I hope you enjoy this year’s British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa and that just as we did in 1974 and 1997 we secure another Test Series win against the formidable Springboks building on the Lions’ legacy and passing it on to those selected in four years time.