Cooch’s Mini Series: Part II

 In British & Irish Lions

We hope you all had a lovely Easter in the sunshine at home.

Following on from the first two questions in our Mini Series about Gareth ‘Cooch’ Chilcott’s experience as a Lion, below you will find our second installment.  These questions relate to the Lions back when he was playing in his successful 1989 Series win against Australia right through to the present day. 

If you missed the first two, you can find them on our website by clicking here.


Q3.  Who did you sit next to on the flight and what was that like back in the 80s? 

Cant remember who I sat next too on the plane, but I do remember only the long legged Dooley, Ackford, Norster and Lenihans of the world got business class!

Also I recall we all had to be responsible for our own luggage, nowadays the Players have baggage men to do that for them.

The general equipment baggage was moved around in teams and we all took it in turns to do it.

By the time of leaving for Australia we had also set up a social committee, which I was honoured to be a part of.

Q4. Did you share with the same person throughout? What were they like?

The management brought in a rooming policy, that you were not allowed to stay with a fellow position or with the same nationality, so for example Robert Jones Welsh scrum half with Gareth Chilcott English prop!!

1989 was one of the last long tours, in fact it was probably the last of the big amateur tours. We were the last Lions team not to have shirt sponsorship. To be fair, it didn’t really matter who you roomed with, by the end of the tour we were all great mates.

Q5. Who is more influential to the players. The Lions captain or the Lions coach? Do you think it’s the same in the modern era? 

I believe a successful Lions Tour are dependent on several factors, that need to come together at the right time.

The players must respect each other and come together as one united squad, where the mid-week team push’s and supports the Saturday team, and visa a versa.

But at the top of the Squad you need clear and respected management, coach and Captain. In recent Lions tours the Coach is the main man and the Manager is more of a figure head for the sponsorship/ dinners and welcome speech’s that need to take place.

But the tours of yesterday-year the management team where all important, they did not have as many of the support staff you have today.

Take my Lions tour of 89, you had the team of Clive Rowlands, Ian McGeechan, Roger Uttley and the outstanding Captain in Finlay Calder, these 4 made all the decisions, along with a Doctor and a Physio for medical advise. a close knit team.

Today’s tour parties have such a large contingent of extra non playing staff, from specialist Coaches, doctors, several other medical and physio staff, baggage men, PR people and of course a legal representative, it was a lot simpler in the old days!

The good thing with so much help running the tour, at least the Coach can get down to the important thing, the Rugby.

We hope you are enjoying these. Please stay safe and stay well.

Best wishes,

The Venatour Team


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