Cooch’s Mini Series

 In Rugby

We hope you are all staying safe and well during this troubled time.

With the news that the launch of the Lions Tour has been delayed we wanted to stay in touch and give you a little insight into Gareth ‘Cooch’ Chilcott’s experience as a Lion himself. Through the next few weeks, we will be doing a Mini Series with him, asking questions about the Lions back when he was playing in his successful 1989 Series win against Australia right through to the present day.
We’ve selected quite a few questions about his experiences pre and post the 1989 tour and also to touch on his views on the present day tours. We’ll be publishing some of his answers a couple of times a week.

We hope you enjoy!

Q1. How did you find out you had been picked for your 1989 Lions tour? 

It was a nervous time for me, before the selection of the 89 Lions tour.

Half the media felt I should go and the other half felt that my discipline record may go against me, I really did not know how it would play. I was hopeful though, as I could play both loose head and tight head at international level, that may just sway it.

At the time I was doing various security jobs for a guy called Malcolm Pearce who was a big supporter of Bath Rugby and funnily enough later went on to own Bristol Rugby Club for a while.

The squad was being announced on the radio and I was sat in a large office with staff waiting for the announcement.

Thankfully I got in, went home and celebrated with my wife Ann over a bottle of wine, nothing more than that. My Dad, however, had a big party with neighbours with the whole terraced street in Bedminster Bristol taking part – they were all Bristol city fans, but it was a community and loved a party for what ever reason!

Q2. What was the pre-tour meeting like? How did you get on with the other tourists? 

It was interesting as the pre tour was more of a suit, boot, and kit fitting and we were meeting up a couple of weeks later, for two weeks of fitness and then off.

We sort of knew each from playing against one another, but Ian McGeechan encouraged us to get the know the person, not just the rugby player, which usually meant some sort get together in local pubs.

I was in a difficult position though, as my place on the tour was at stake. In between the naming of the squad and the first get together, there was still rugby to be played and during the Romania v England game in Bucharest, I pulled a calf muscle, and was having daily treatment, to get me on the tour.

The England and Bath medical staff, plus a huge leap of faith with the Lions management, got me there.

Stay tuned for the next two questions coming soon!

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CARDIFF, WALES - FEBRUARY 22: Paul Willemse of France celebrates scoring his sides second try during the 2020 Guinness Six Nations match between Wales and France at Principality Stadium on February 22, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)