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Ulster’s British Lions to roar again at special reunion

To celebrate Ulster rugby’s proud history of involvement with the British and Irish Lions, a reunion of Ulster’s 22 surviving Lions will take place this February, prior to the start of the 2012 RBS Six Nations.

The 22 players, who have donned the famous red jersey ranging from Jack Kyle (1950 tour) through to Stephen Ferris (2009 tour), will come together on Friday February 3rd to host a day of celebration commencing with a ‘Sport to Business’ master class, hosted by Sport Northern Ireland, and culminating in ‘An Audience with Ulster Lions Legends’ Gala Dinner sponsored by Arthur Cox at Belfast City Hall.

The evening is being organised by Ballymena Rugby Club and will see the great and the good of Ulster rugby gather together to celebrate the achievement of Ulster’s Lions contingent.

Syd Millar, veteran of six Lions Tours, including one as coach of the famous 1974 tour of South Africa, when the tourists went unbeaten through 22 games, will be one of those at the event.

He said, “This event is a terrific opportunity to gather together all those fortunate enough to be involved with the Lions, and recognise their involvement.”

In the afternoon prior to the gala dinner, a ‘Sport to Business’ master class will take place in Stranmillis College in association with Sport Northern Ireland.

This workshop will look at how rugby is a great tool for developing key skills like leadership, communication and teamwork, and how these qualities are transferable to other aspects of life.

The most recent Ulster Lion, Stephen Ferris, who toured South Africa in 2009 said: “Communication, teamwork and trust have always been important parts of rugby but on a Lions tour the importance of each of these is more significant.”

Guests at the master class will learn how many of Ulster’s Lions Legends have put the skills they acquired during their time in the sport to good use after rugby.

Lions Legend, Willie John McBride, who toured with the Lions five times and captained the 1974 tour, said, “Sport is no doubt one of the best places to develop as a person.

“Being on the pitch and captaining the Lions is where I learnt about teamwork, trust, communication, and leadership,” McBride, a former banker, added.

Tickets for the gala dinner can be purchased from Ballymena RFC at www.ballymenarfc.com.

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