Inside both camps

Working with both teams for the Lions tour of New Zealand

Just over two weeks ago Warren Gatland’s British & Irish Lions squad arrived in New Zealand to attempt the seemingly impossible, beating the All Blacks in their own backyard. Only Carwyn James’ class of 1971 have managed to conquer this Everest of rugby. That team’s success etched their names in not just the Lions but All Blacks folklore, as Sean Fitzpatrick, a man who captained his country to a series win against the Lions in 1993, explained at our Summer of Sport event earlier this year.

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Over the course of three test matches it will be determined whether history can be repeated for the Lions or another glorious chapter is written for the back-to-back World Champions. We are representing players and working with sponsors on both sides, so office loyalties are split down the middle. Here are a few highlights of our involvement in this special tour.
 

The select few

On Wednesday 19th April, players across the British and Irish isles were glued to their TV screens as they waited to find out who Warren Gatland and his coaching staff had entrusted with the ultimate rugby honour in the northern hemisphere. For eight of our players, their names were read out and their boyhood dreams became a reality. Leigh Halfpenny, player of the tour in 2013, select for a third time, George North, scorer of one of the Lions’ most famous test match tries, a second tour, while for the other six it is unfamiliar but hugely exciting territory.

Part of the all black wall standing between the Lions and history are 33 All Blacks and a whole country of avid fans. Steve Hansen, the team’s head coach, named his squad last week for the three-match series and we were delighted to see 17 of our players included.

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Tracking the Lions with Land Rover

After its success at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Land Rover re-launched its #WeDealInReal campaign as our client scoured grassroots rugby for people who embody the game’s values of resilience, integrity and passion, to reward them with a trip to New Zealand for the British & Irish Lions Tour. Sponsoring its sixth tour, Land Rover called on the Lions coach, Warren Gatland, and former legends of the jersey, Brian O’Driscoll, Martin Johnson, Gavin Hastings and Sir Gareth Edwards to help them with their search. Zac France’s inspiring story, told here via his Twitter account, made him a worthy winner: paralysed from the neck down after a rugby accident, Zac was told he would never walk again. Two years later, through absolute determination, he wasn’t just walking again but back on a rugby field. Remarkable and humbling.

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‘Tracking the Lions’, Land Rover’s content series taking fans behind-the-scenes of the 2017 tour began on British soil. Episode one included a trip to the Lions UK training base with two former captains in Martin Johnson and Brian O’Driscoll to provide some parting advice to this year’s squad. In the 2nd episode, Will Greenwood, who toured New Zealand in 2005, met up with George North who shared some secrets including the ‘king of the bicep curls’, the ‘racing snake’ and memories of a rather surprising fan of Shakira.

 

Robert Walters recruits The Ultimate Lions Fan

You are one interview away from a trip-of-a-lifetime on the Lions tour of New Zealand, what could possibly go wrong?

Stuart Broad, the club rugby player not England Cricketer, had to contend with trick questions and making an attempt at a changing room rally-cry in front of three rugby legends in David Flatman, Richard Hill and Tom Shanklin. All of this was an effort to become our client, Robert Walter’s ‘Ultimate Lions Fan’.

As you’ll see from the amusing interview below, there can be no doubt that they’ve recruited the right person for the job: 
 
 
After a stuttering start to the tour for the Lions, a tired performance against the Provincial Barbarians followed by defeat in Auckland to the Blues, the critics were stifled on Saturday when the Lions didn't quite roar but certainly growled with a memorable victory over the Canterbury Crusaders, a team boasting eight All Blacks and an unblemished record in 2017. With promise of more performances like Saturday, the tour is shaping up to deliver the ‘phenomenal seven weeks of rugby’ that fans in both camps are craving.

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