Total Rugby Radio show 249, from 12:00 UK time on Thursday 24 December ...
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In the first of three special programmes we look back on the highlights of January - April 2009, a year always likely to be dominated by one very special tour.
LIONS: PRIDE AT STAKE
There's no question that the Lions Tour of South Africa dominated much of the early part of 2009, but as the year began there was only one real certainty - that the touring party would be coached by Ian McGeechan. We listen back to our chat with Geech early in the year and also hear from two key members of his coaching team, Shaun Edwards and Warren Gatland, and captain Paul O'Connell.
RBS SIX NATIONS
We relive the crucial stages of this year's Six Nations championship and have all the reaction from Dublin as Brian O'Driscoll and new coach Declan Kidney led the festivities.
RUGBY'S OLYMPIC DREAM
Away from the action on the field, rugby was awaiting one of the most important decisions in its history. In Singapore in 2005, rugby's bid to become an Olympic sport had been rejected by the IOC, but now after four years of intensive lobbying, hopes were mounting. We air part of an intriguing debate we held featuring the board's Chief Exec, Mike Miller.
RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS
Crucial to that Olympic vote would be the smooth running of the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Dubai, the first to feature men's and women's events side by side. We have all the highlights and reaction as the Wallaroos captured an historic first ever women's title and Wales capitalised on a day of knock-out madness to land the men's.
L'AQUILA: SPIRIT OF RUGBY
With the highs, the year also brought tragedy to the Italian town of L'Aquila which, in April, was struck by an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale. Italy's worst for 300 years, it was to have catastrophic consequences. We reported at the time on a story of bravery and courage which was to earn the town's rugby club the IRB Spirit of Rugby Award.