Willie John McBride MBE

Rugby great and creator of the "99 call"

Willie John McBride

Willie John McBride MBE is a retired rugby union footballer who played as a lock for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions.

He played 63 Tests for Ireland, including eleven as captain, toured with the Lions five times — a record that gave him 17 Lions Test caps – and captained the most successful ever Lions side which toured South Africa in 1974.

Owing to his father’s death when he was five years old, Willie spent most of his spare time helping out on his family farm and did not start playing rugby until he was 17.

However, he picked the game up fast, playing for the Ballymena Academy rugby team’s first XV and going on to join Ballymena R.F.C.

In 1962 was selected to play for Ireland – his first Test on 10 February 1962 was against England at Twickenham, and later that year he was selected to tour South Africa with the British and Irish Lions.

McBride continued to play for Ireland throughout the 1960s and played for Ireland when they first defeated South Africa in 1965, and when Ireland defeated Australia in Sydney — the first time a Home Nations team had defeated a major southern hemisphere team in their own country.

It was with the Lions, however, that Willie made his name, taking part in a total of five tours, with the most famous coming in 1974 when he instigated the “99 call” to counteract the well-known Springbok foul play.

An ideal personality for both sporting and business events, Willie can mix question and answer sessions with presentations as a rugby speaker, ensuring all audience members gain a wonderful insight into a golden era of the sport.

To book Willie John McBride MBE as an after dinner speaker for sporting and business events with Champions Motivational Speakers, simply fill in our online form or call us on +44 1509 85 29 27 today.

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