After the memorial service for legendary England number 8 Andy Ripley, where he saw so many friends from rugby, Stewart McKinney decided to compile a selection of stories from players who have been involved with the British and Irish Lions.
The result is Roars from the Back of the Bus, an absorbing, amusing and at times moving collection of tales that give a rare insight into the camaraderie that exists between players at the top of their game, showing that relationships forged through experiences on a Lions tour last a lifetime.
From the first Tour in 1888, it showcases characters with immense personality who fought together in wars or on rugby pitches in foreign lands, and who shared a bond developed through touring as representatives of the home nations. Exclusive access to letters from Alexander Findlater Todd in 1896 and diaries from 1938 and 1955 show how today's Lions still follow links established years ago. Despite the changes to the game following the advent of professionalism, the experiences of Jamie Heaslip, Brian O'Driscoll and Joe Worsley can still be compared to those of earlier intrepid tourists like Blair Mayne, Lewis Jones, Sir Carl Aarvold or David Rollo. Containing defining memories and private insights from across the tours and the decades, it shows that the Lions ethos remains strong at the heart of every team.