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April 21 down the years
O'Connell confirmed as Lions captain
April 21, 1900
Lions head coach Ian McGeechan congratulates his skipper Paul O'Connell, Lions squad announcement, Heathrow, London, April 21, 2009
Lions coach Ian McGeechan shakes hands with his skipper Paul O'Connell on this day in 2009 © Getty Images

Ireland lock Paul O'Connell was named captain of the 2009 British & Irish Lions for their tour to South Africa later the same year - edging out compatriot and national skipper Brian O'Driscoll. O'Connell, the Munster captain, became the 10th Irishman to lead the elite tourists.

The squad announcement the same day rewarded 14 players from Ireland for their Six Nations Grand Slam triumph while 13 players from Wales, eight from England and two from Scotland also got the nod. Among the high-profile omissions are a trio of Six Nations captains - England's Steve Borthwick, Wales' Ryan Jones and Scotland's Mike Blair.

The Lions lost what was a brutal series against South Africa with the Springboks claiming a 26-21 victory in Durban before claiming a decisive 28-25 win in Pretoria. The Lions gained some reward for their endeavours with a 28-9 victory in the third and final Test in Johannesburg.

Leicester battled past Gloucester 19-15 at Watford's Vicarage Road to book a Heineken Cup Final date with Stade Francais. Tim Stimpson inspired the Tigers' nerve-racking semi-final success, kicking 14 points and creating a superb first-half try for centre Leon Lloyd. But Leicester, who had won the Premiership title in runaway fashion, were given a major fright as Gloucester fought for every scrap of possession and territory. The Tigers had their captain, England skipper Martin Johnson, sin-binned following a 53rd-minute dust-up with Gloucester No.8 Junior Paramore, who was also yellow-carded, and then survived a torrid spell of Gloucester pressure in injury time.

Fly-half Andy Goode steered Leicester into the Heineken Cup Final at the expense of Llanelli Scarlets in a thriller at the Walkers Stadium. The England fly-half scored the Tigers' opening try and created another score for Shane Jennings.

Goode also kicked 18 points including the conversion of Louis Deacon's late try that sealed a first all-English final with Wasps. Mark Jones and Matt Rees scored tries for the Scarlets but they were unable to hold onto an early lead. The Tigers had lost both previous matches they had played at the Walkers Stadium, to Toulouse in the 2005 semi-finals and then to Bath in the previous season's quarters.

A New Zealand Army XV beats Wales 6-3 in an Easter Monday match at Swansea. The WRU award caps to a team that is the first Welsh XV to lose against a New Zealand representative side.

Wales are forced to field a second XV for their Championship match with France, seven of their players having left by ship for New Zealand with the Lions touring side. Wales win a rough match, 11-0.

England's Danny Hearn, paralysed in an accident playing for a Divisional combination against the 1967 All Blacks, is invited to be the guest of honour at a special dinner to be hosted by the Suburbs Club in Auckland.

Bristol win their eleventh successive match and pass a thousand points for the season with a 51-6 win against Blackheath at the Memorial Ground.

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