As the chant of ‘Lions, Lions, Lions’ filled the Sydney sky, the dream had become a reality.
Down from the stands swept the fervour and passion of more than 35,000 British & Irish Lions fans, who had swept across Australia in a ‘Sea of Red’ from Brisbane, Melbourne and onto Sydney.
The final chapter was a remarkable third Test victory that sealed a 2-1 series win for the Lions – their first since 1997 – that sent players and fans into ecstasy.
A Lions Tour is the ultimate rugby tour. It brings together fans from the four corners of Great Britain and Ireland under one unifying banner and Lions Rugby Travel created a unique Lions experience.
In 2013, the Lions launched their very own supporter tours travel company and the result was a wonderful mix of fans, clubs, memories and experiences – on and off the field.
From the brilliant eve of Test match special events that featured a galaxy of Lions greats and rugby legends, a gala dinner on the eve of the second Test that included an exclusive and surprise appearance from Lions head coach Warren Gatland and the iconic Paul O’Connell, to excursions and the very special match day atmospheres, Lions Rugby Travel were there every step of the way.
John Nisbet, the first ever Lions Rugby Travel booker, said: “A Lions Tour is just simply unique. Until you have experienced it, it’s hard to put into words what it means. It brings people together, it creates memories and is just wonderful – Lions Rugby Travel made that happen.”
The undoubted highlight were the supporter villages in Melbourne and Sydney – bringing more than 3,000 red-shirted Lions together for a pre and post match party. As well as celebrities and legends, Melbourne’s event also included an exclusive appearance from the Manic Street Preachers – who wowed the crowd with an hour set before the game.
Former Scotland and Lions scrum-half Andy Nicol, who compered the event, said: “It was just stunning – to see so many Lions fans together, singing with a band like the Manics was something that will stay with me forever.”
And as the songs of Lions fans filled the Sydney sky, thoughts turned to New Zealand 2017 and the next chapter in Lions history.