Lions Origin – Joining the Pride

Lions Origin logo with background of rugby players in a huddle. With Canterbury and Howden logos.

Ahead of the 2025 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia, NPTC Group of Colleges is proud to join the pride as a Lions Origin School. Lions Origin Clubs and Schools are those that have helped shape the future of the Lions by producing and guiding players on their rugby journey.

NPTC Group of Colleges has played its part in developing a number of the 855 players who have represented the British and Irish Lions.

Darren Morris #696

Rugby player Darren Morris in British and Irish Lions kit celebrating with Jason Robinson.

Darren Morris has a place in the Lions’ history books after being part of the side that kicked off the 2001 Tour with a 116-10 victory over Western Australia.

Darren made further starts in the wins over NSW Waratahs and ACT Brumbies, as well as coming off the bench in Tour games with Australia A and NSW Country.

And Morris was brought on as a replacement for Tom Smith in the memorable deciding Test against Australia, as Matt Burke’s penalties and Justin Harrison’s late steal at the lineout secured the series for the hosts.

Darren studied both a BTEC and HND whilst at NPTC Group of Colleges.

James Hook – #769

Rugby player James Hook in British and Irish Lions kit running with the ball.

Fellow Neath College alumnus James Hook travelled to South Africa in 2009 as a replacement for Welsh compatriot Leigh Halfpenny.

James played in six Tour matches, four of them as a replacement, and scored 35 points. His haul included a try against the Golden Lions in his first appearance in the famous red jersey.

He was named in the 22-man squad for the third and final Test against the Springboks.

James Hook was made an NPTC Group of Colleges Honorary Fellow for Services to Sport in 2022, at the College’s annual Graduation Ceremony.

Dan Lydiate – #784

Rugby player Dan Lydiate in British and Irish Lions kit running with the ball.

Former Coleg Powys student Dan Lydiate toured Australia in 2013 with the Lions and appeared in eight games on the Tour – including all three Tests of the historic series win.

Coming into the tour, the flanker had missed more than six months of action due to a combination of ankle and hamstring injuries.

But after scoring a try in their tour opener against the Barbarians in Hong Kong, Dan looked back to the sort of form that saw him win the 2012 Player of the Championship award with Wales.

He came off the bench in the first Test in Melbourne but started the second and third as the Lions beat the Wallabies for their first series win in 16 years.

In 2014 Dan Lydiate was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from NPTC Group of Colleges for Services to Sport.

Justin Tipuric – #786

Rugby player Justin Tupuric in British and Irish Lions kit about the catch the ball.

HND Sports Science alumnus Justin Tipuric was part of the victorious Lions squad in Australia, earning a spot on the bench in the decisive third Test.

His entry to the fray in the 55th minute coincided with a Lions blitz of three second-half tries that effectively sealed a historic series win.

Four years later, he was again selected for the Tour of New Zealand making five appearances in all, although he did not break into the Test side.

He had become one of the go-to men for Wales, particularly since Sam Warburton’s retirement, playing every minute of their title-winning Guinness Six Nations campaign in 2021, while he also started four games in the 2019 Grand Slam and was a key figure in Wales’s run to the semi-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

He was included in the Tour to South Africa in 2021 but was injured in the first match of the Tour against Japan and had to return home. Justin retired from international rugby in 2023 with 93 Wales and 2 British and Irish Lions caps.

Adam Beard – #852

Rugby player Adam Beard in British and Irish Lions kit

A prominent member of Wales’s victorious 2021 Six Nations campaign, Adam Beard wore the red of The British & Irish Lions for the first time in South Africa in 2021.

Adam was called up as a replacement for captain Alun Wyn Jones, who suffered a shoulder injury in the opening game of the Tour against Japan.

Adam joined the Ospreys Academy after completing his Former BTEC Level 3 Sport student at Llandarcy Academy of Sport and became a mainstay of the Welsh second row from 2019 onwards.

He made five appearances in South Africa, scoring one try against the DHL Stormers.

The College is committed to the development of young sportspeople and has consistently produced international-level talent across a wide range of sports. As a Lions Origin School, we are proud of our international rugby heritage but always have one eye on the future. Alumni such as Dan Edwards at The Ospreys and Joe Hawkins, currently at Exter Rugby are two young, exciting talents aspiring to one day be themselves capped by the British and Irish Lions. And it’s not just rugby players that we are developing. International referee and alumnus Craig Evans started refereeing as a teenager at Llandarcy Academy of Sport and has been referring at the Six Nations since 2021. He will be hoping to be appointed as a member of the officiating team heading to Australia in 2025.

Our British and Irish Lions are all members of our Alumni – an established global community of former students, a ready-made network of contacts and lifelong friends. To learn more about our Alumni and how to join click the button below.

Alumni at NPTC Group of Colleges

To learn more about our Sports and Public Services courses click the button below.

Sports and Public Services Courses

To find out more about Lions Origin, click the button below.

Lions Origin