Ospreys Lions – a quick history

With 4 Ospreys currently out in New Zealand with the British & Irish Lions ahead of the opening game of the tour on Saturday, here’s our guide to those who have worn the famous red shirt before them.

Dan Biggar, Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric and Rhys Webb are the quartet in Warren Gatland’s 41-man squad, but what Ospreys have previously represented the region on Lions duty? 

2005 – New Zealand


Gavin Henson

Having shone early in the year as he helped guide Wales to the Grand Slam – their first in 27 years – and the Ospreys to a first ever Celtic League title, Henson was very much the man of the moment ahead of this tour.

Having missed out on selection for the first test, Henson was named to start a week later, wearing 12 as the All Blacks clinched the series with a 48-18 win. Injury then ruled him out of the third and final test.


Shane Williams

Featured in just two test matches on this tour, the pre New Zealand warm-up game against Argentina at the Millennium Stadium and the second test in New Zealand.

He did feature regularly in non-test matches on tour however, and set a Lions record for tries in a single game when he scored five against Manawatu Turbos in a 109-6 win.


Ryan Jones

Although not named in the original squad, Ryan was flown into New Zealand in early June as an injury replacement for Simon Taylor, having featured for Wales against USA on their summer tour.

Made an immediate impact in the Lions camp, and after coming off the bench in the first test made the starting line-up for the remaining two games against the All Blacks as he arguably became Lions player of the series.


Brent Cockbain

The big second row was called into the squad after the first test as a replacement for Danny Grewcock, banned for biting Kevin Mealamu in the first test.


2009 – South Africa


Tommy Bowe

The Irish wing had enjoyed a profitable first season with the Ospreys, scoring nine tries in 22 games, and also helping Ireland to a historic Grand Slam success, which included a try against Wales in Cardiff.

Started in all three tests on the tour, the first two on the wing before moving infield to centre for the third test.


Lee Byrne

One of the form full backs in world rugby at the time, Byrne impressed enough in the opening games of the tour, scoring two tries, to get the nod at full back ahead of Rob Kearney for the first test.

However, a thumb injury sustained during the first half of the first test curtailed his involvement in the tour as he headed off home early.


James Hook

Having initially missed out on selection, Hook was added to the squad before departure following an injury to Leigh Halfpenny.

Although he failed to make a test appearance, Hook scored 35 points on tour.


Adam Jones

‘Bomb’ headed on tour with a reputation as a strong, scrummaging prop and returned home with that reputation enhanced despite departing South Africa early due to injury.

Came off the bench in the first test before getting the nod to start a week later in the second test. Unfortunately a shoulder injury meant he exited early in the second half and was unable to continue on tour.


Alun Wyn Jones

The talismanic second row started the first test, a 26-21 defeat in Durban, before featuring off the bench in the two remaining test matches, a 28-25 defeat in Pretoria and a 28-9 win in Johannesburg.


Mike Phillips

His physical, combative style made him perfect for the number nine shirt against the Springboks and he duly made the starting XV for all three test matches.

Scored a try late on in the first test to bring the Lions agonisingly close to a famous win.


Shane Williams

The man with TNT in his boots suffered a frustrating tour of contrasting emotions.

He missed out on the first test entirely, came off the bench in the second, then stole the show in the third, scoring two tries in a man of the match performance.


2013 – Australia


Ian Evans

The towering Abercwmboi man played four times on tour without getting close to test match action

Richard Hibbard

With a reputation as a physical, ball carrying hooker, Hibbard saw off the challenge of Rory Best and Tom Youngs to secure a starting berth in the first two tests, featuring off the bench in the third.

Played six times on tour in all, scoring one try


Adam Jones 

After his frustrating experience four years earlier in South Africa, this tour was one to remember for all the right reasons for Jones as he nailed down his status as one of the all-time greats.

Starting in all three test matches, Jones added Lions series win to his three Grand Slams, putting him in an exclusive group of players.


Alun Wyn Jones

By now recognised as one of Wales, and the British & Irish Lions, finest ever locks, Jones’ place in the starting XV for the tests was without question.

An influential figure on and off the field, he played seven times in all on tour, scoring one try as he started all three test matches. In the absence of tour captain, Sam Warburton, he skippered the team in the crucial third test, which the Lions won 41-16 to claim a 2-1 series win.


Justin Tipuric

With Warburton leading the Lions from 7, Tipuric was always facing an uphill struggle with regard to a test spot.

However, he impressed in non-test matches and, after Warburton’s injury in the second test, gained a bench spot the following week and came on early in the second half to help the Lions to a historic victory.