Not just content with winning the Aviva Premiership and being called up to the British & Irish Lions squad to tour Australia this summer, Leicester Tigers Geoff Parling capped off an unbelievable season by playing a pivotal role in the Lions 2-1 series victory over the Wallabies.
Having played in all three Test matches, Parling can now count himself amongst a select band of players who can lay claim to being part of a winning Lions Tour and the first since 1999. Written into the history books, the future is certainly looking great for the 29 year old as he looks to add even more honours to his impressive domestic and international CV.
Whilst taking a well earned rest ahead of the new season, Lovell Rugby caught up with the Lions and Tigers lock to discuss life on Tour Down Under, that tackle and the jokers of the pack.
Firstly congratulations on being part of the winning British & Irish Lions squad on the recent Tour of Australia. How did you find the tour?
I loved it. Obviously winning the tour topped everything but just being part of such a special tour was an honour. I really enjoyed visiting different places and playing against teams you will never play against again. There were so many supporters in Oz too that created an awesome atmosphere.
Was the deciding 3rd Test the biggest match of you’re career to date?
I guess it was with regards to what surrounded the game and the media coverage but there have been some other games with Leicester and England that I think were just as big in a different way. I’d also put relegation deciders for Newcastle up there. When people’s jobs and a regions rugby are depending on a game I’d say that’s pretty big!
What are you’re highlights from the Tour?
Winning, meeting some good blokes and seeing some more of Oz.
Who were the jokers of the Tour?
Simon Zebo had to be up there just for his laid back attitude. We fined him though and he had to ring Rob Penney his Munster coach in front of everyone and tell him that he should be club captain next year!
Who was the best trainer/trainers on the Tour?
I guess the kickers put in the most hours with Jenks and it certainly worked in the games.
Talk us through the tap tackle on Jesse Mogg?
My long arms finally came in useful! We had an exit lineout that had gone to the floor so I was the last one up and saw some quick bloke running!
How are you spending you’re well earned rest this summer?
With my family – my wife gave birth to our daughter May whilst I was out there so I’ll spend it with them and my son Henry.
How long have you got off before you start pre-season with Leicester Tigers?
We have 4 weeks off which I’m enjoying!
Any advice for young players?
Don’t let anyone knock your confidence – prove the doubters wrong.
How much time do you spend studying the oppositions lineout during the week?
A fair amount of time but I think its much more important to focus on your own drills and team.
Do you keep any shirts or boots etc… from special games?
I keep most of my shirts and always get one shirt signed by that seasons/campaigns squad. I’ve got my shirt and James Horwill’s from the 3rd test that I might frame when I retire. I’ve also got a programme from near enough every professional game I’ve ever played in too!
Being a former Falcon are you pleased to see them back in the Aviva Premiership?
I’m over the moon to see them back up – hopefully they can stay there. It’s a great area the North-east and it needs a top flight team to watch.
Don’t forget you can still get your own British & Irish Lions replica and players issue clothing from Lovell Rugby with a wide selection of rugby shirts, jackets, t-shirts, polo shirts, trousers and much more on offer.