With the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour of Australia edging closer fans of the oval ball in the UAE are being offered the chance to learn what goes into winning one of rugby union’s toughest tests with An Evening with Sir Ian McGeechan.
The 65-year-old’s name is inextricably linked with the Lions, having played in the unbeaten 1974 tour to South Africa and 1977 trip to New Zealand before coaching the all-star squad on three straight trips, from 1989 to 1997.
Geech, as the former Headingley and Scotland fly-half is affectionately known, was also involved with the midweek side on the ill-fated tour of New Zealand in 2005 before reprising his role as Head Coach for the journey to South Africa four years ago, for a tour that helped restore pride in the famous red jersey.
It is McGeechan’s 1997 side, though – relying on the nerveless kicking of Neil Jenkins and a series-clinching Jeremy Guscott drop goal – that are probably the most fondly remembered of recent sides as they were the last to return to the northern hemisphere victorious.
And, one member of that squad will join his former mentor on stage to regale audiences in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi with stories from that famous expedition.
John Bentley had only recently returned to union from rugby league when he was chosen to make the trip, being rewarded with a place on the wing in the series-clinching second Test in Durban and dead-rubber in Johannesburg a week later.
You can therefore discover first-hand from both coach and player what went into winning a series few outside the squad felt they had any chance in, while no doubt hearing a few tales that didn’t even make it into the Living with the Lions documentary.
McGeechan, Bentley and comedian Gary Marshall will be at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Dubai this Thursday before they head to the Crowne Plaza in Abu Dhabi the following night.
The trio have already wowed a crowd in Doha, and David Skidmore, Managing Director of organisers Event Tour Sports, is expecting another couple of fun nights in the UAE.
“We have a seriously hilarious comedian to start off the evening and then there’s a very insightful Q&A session with Sir Ian McGeechan, who has 40 years of Lions experience,” Skidmore said.
“Bentley will be his usual extrovert self. They work very well together of course as they have a friendship that goes back to 1997.”
Unsurprisingly, tickets for the two events are selling fast with Skidmore expecting a “good turnout” in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. To ensure you don’t miss out on this unique opportunity, contact [email protected] or phone David on 0504258625.
WHAT: An Evening with Sir Ian McGeechan
WHERE: Ritz Carlton Hotel, Dubai and Crowne Plaza, Abu Dhabi
WHEN: This Thursday (Dubai) and Friday (Abu Dhabi)
CONTACT: 0504258625 or email [email protected]
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