Austin Healey Tricked Will Greenwood Into Thinking He Missed Out On Lions Selection
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Austin Healey is colourful character. As a player he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind and was always up to a bit of mischief. As a pundit it appears that hasn’t changed much, but one of his best tricks game in 1997 while he was at the top of his game.
The 1997 British & Irish Lions tour will always be remembered for a number of reasons. The epic series win, the brilliant documentary and the incredible squad coach Sir Ian Mcgeechan assembled for the tour.
Back then the Lions was a different animal. The commercial side of it we see today didn’t exist. There was no massive TV deals with Sky, if you were picked to tour with the squad, you’d simply get a letter in the post.
Austin Healey was living with Will Greenwood when that letter came for him and brilliantly decided to hide the second letter that came that day, addressed to Greenwood. What followed was absolutely brilliant.
We got letters in ’97 and I was living with Will Greenwood at the time. We got told, I think on April 5th, that the letter would be delivered if you were in the squad.
Being a light sleep, I heard the postman and I ran down. I saw both letters. Craig Joiner was living with us at the time and he was close to getting into the squad as well.
I picked up Will’s letter and put it inside my dressing gown and started cheering that I’d got my letter.
He came down into the kitchen all sad faced and I said, ‘Have you not got one?’ He said, ‘No I’ve not got one.’
I said, ‘Mate, you should have got on that tour. You deserve to be on that tour.’ I said, ‘Can you take me to the training ground because I want to have a few beers to celebrate.’
There was a big press announcement there because Martin Johnson is the captain, it says it here on the letter. Sure enough, he drove me in his Mini Metro.
As we pulled in, one of the TV cameras came to the window – he was the only uncapped player in the squad – and said, ‘Well done Will, well done.’ As we pulled off I said, ‘Mate, are they taking the mick out of you or what?’
Then he got out of the car and as he got I out, I opened his letter and said he had been selected.
Watch Healey tell the story on BT Sport’s Rugby Tonight below.
Brilliant story from Austin Healey on how he tricked Will Greenwood into thinking he wasn't selected for the 1997 Lions tour. pic.twitter.com/ougQcD5PTp
— RugbyLAD (@RugbyLAD7) April 27, 2017