The Ellis Rugby book preview. British & Irish Lions: The Official History.

British & Irish Lions: The Official History Authors Clem Thomas, Greg Thomas & Rob Cole

Richard Clement Charles “Clem” Thomas was a Wales international rugby union player. A flanker, he represented Cambridge University R.U.F.C. in the Varsity Match in 1949 and played for Brynamman, Swansea, London Welsh and Harlequins. He earned 26 caps for Wales, between 1949 and 1959 and captained Wales in his last nine internationals. After retiring as a player he became a rugby union journalist and author of books on the game.

Thomas first came to note as a rugby player while still a school-boy. A boarder at Blundell’s School in Tiverton he gained four Wales School-boy caps while at the school. He gained his first full senior cap in the match against France in the 1949 Five Nations Championship.

Thomas was also a member of the last Wales team that defeated the New Zealand All Blacks in 1953. In fact, it was Thomas’s cross field kick that enabled Ken Jones, the flying Welsh winger, to gather the ball and touch down for the winning try.

Thomas toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 1955. He was taken ill shortly after the start of the tour and was operated on for appendicitis, which caused him to miss the first ten tour matches. He spent part of his recuperation on a farm owned by the South African pilot Sailor Malan and rejoined the tour in time to be selected for the final two test matches against South Africa. Tony O’Reilly, writing after Thomas’s death, felt that if Thomas had been available for all four games the Lions might have won the series rather than drawing it 2–2.Thomas captained the Lions team in the game against Natal.

Clem Thomas was born in Cardiff and educated at Blundell’s School and St. John’s College, Cambridge. He was married twice, to Ann Barter in 1954 and Joyce Rowley in 1980 and had three sons and one daughter with his first wife. One of his sons, Greg Thomas, was the Head of Media on the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa. Clem Thomas was a butcher by trade but when he retired from playing rugby he took up journalism and worked for The Observer for 35 years and then The Independent on Sunday for the last two years of his life. He co-authored the book Welsh Rugby with Geoff Nicholson and wrote The History of the British and Irish Lions which he completed shortly before his death.

Thomas also took part in politics. He stood unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Liberal Party in two general elections for the UK parliament and one election for the European Parliament in the 1970s.

He died in Swansea in 1996 aged 67.

Rob Cole worked at the Western Mail & Echo as Athletics and Rugby Writer from 1982 to 1988. And then Deputy Sports Editor and Chief Rugby Writer at Wales on Sunday From 1988 to 1989. He is now a Director at the Westgate Sports Agency.

Here’s the Ellis Rugby British & Irish Lions: Official History Book Preview –

Authorative, comprehensive, all encompassing and the last word on the history of the British & Irish Lions – this book is essential reading for dedicated followers of the team that best represents the spirit of rugby and is THE ONLY OFFICIAL LIONS HISTORY

This fully revised and updated edition includes a full review of the 2017 Tour to New Zealand and a preview of the 2021 Tour to South Africa

Over 130 years of Lions rugby is chronicled in this authoritative and lavishly illustrated book which was originally written by Clem Thomas, (Lion #386), up to the 1993 Tour and then carried on by his son Greg and renowned rugby writer, Rob Cole.

With over 500 pages of content and over 400 illustrations, including photographs, paintings, scrapbooks & memorabilia, the book is simply the most comprehensive and thorough re-telling of Lions’ history – Each tour is covered in wonderful detail.

This edition also carries a foreword by Lions Chairman, Jason Leonard #644 and there is a 75 page statistics section that includes: the score and team makeup of every Test played by the Lions, full lists of every Lion by A-Z and by order of appearance (from #1 Jack Anderton to #835 Finn Russell), records against each country, appearances, points, tries and so much more.

Available from Amazon to VIEW. Also, why not take a look at the Ellis Rugby British & Irish Rugby Classic Sweatshirt Zipper Red or Navy. Alternatively, we have the Heritage Rugby Polo in Red Navy or Ecru Navy. Plus check out our Vintage British Isles XV Rugby Shop  – VIEW.