Nick Popplewell on England in 1993: "Whatever happened we won, we absolutely hammered them"

Simon Geoghegan's exclusion from the 1993 Tour was "pure politics"

BY Simon Maguire 18:36 Wednesday 5 July 2017, 18:36 5 Jul 2017

Lions' Nick Popplewell. Image: ©INPHO/Photosport

The Off the Ball Lions Legends night was a huge success at the RDS last week.

The team were joined by Keith Wood, Willie John McBride, Ciaran Fitzgerald, Malcolm O'Kelly, Nick Popplewell, Fergus Slattery, Luke Fitzgerald and David Wallace as they looked back over Tours past in front of a live audience.

Nick Popplewell played all three tests on the Tour to New Zealand in 1993 when the visitors levelled the series going heading into the 3rd test. 

However, he didn't expect to be involved at all. "We were obviously quite dreadful," he said, "that was our claim to fame. The 90's was probably the 10 years everybody wanted to forget about and leading up to that year, it was a Lions' year.

"I think I'd played three or four years for Ireland and (Simon) Geoghegan was the man, in fairness to him. Simon was superb. We were still playing crap. We managed to draw against Wales and the last match before the Lions was being picked was England in Dublin, in Lansdowne Road.

"And whatever happened we won, we absolutely hammered them. I think the English lads thought 'listen, we don't want to get feckin injured in this one' and so, there we were, they had to pick somebody (Irish).

"Frankly, Simon Geoghegan, he was the star of the show for the duration of his Irish career but he had dirtied his bib by basically speaking out...there was a kangaroo court. This came out in a Sunday paper...probably around three o'clock and everyone was seething at Simon. As they say: 'the truth hurts' and the reality was we did enjoy a drink and a cigarette and whatever but he didn't get picked for Lions trip so because of Simon I got (picked). 

Willie John McBride also talked about an infamous match against Canterbury in 1971 and the full live show can be heard here:


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