Iain Henderson will arrive home from Lions Tour just in time for his wedding

Iain Henderson will arrive home from Lions Tour just in time for his wedding

Iain Henderson's six weeks in New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions must surely top the list of unorthodox stag dos.

The Ireland lock is busy helping Warren Gatland's Lions gear up for the three-Test series against the All Blacks that starts on June 24.

The Lions' final tour clash will come against New Zealand in Auckland on July 8 - and then Henderson will start a mad dash back to Belfast in time for his wedding.

The 25-year-old will not get back home until July 12, just two days before he marries fiancee Suzanne Flanagan, his former Belfast Royal Academy school friend.

"I think the Ulster boys are getting back in to Belfast at about 8pm on July 12 and I'm getting married at noon on July 14," said Henderson, who will start for the Lions against the Highlanders on Tuesday.

"I've somehow managed to cut that as fine as possible. As far as I'm aware all the wedding planning is going very smoothly.

"Outside of that I'm glad to be sleeping during day-time hours at home so I don't have to worry about any of that!"

And what plans do the future Mr and Mrs Henderson have cooked up for the honeymoon? That's right, another long-haul flight.

"It will definitely be tight enough getting back home jet-lagged and then going on honeymoon over to Singapore," said Henderson.

"So that week between the 12th and 16th will definitely be sleepless.

"I don't know whether I'll be tired or not. I'll have to just wait and see how that comes, and hopefully it will all work out fine."

Joking aside, friends and families of Lions stars certainly help facilitate such a huge undertaking halfway round the world from home, where the tourists are chasing just their second-ever Test series win against the All Blacks.

With history on the line, Henderson knows the magnitude of every minute in the famed Lions jersey when it comes to contesting Test match selection.

Henderson will pack down alongside his Ulster and Ireland captain Rory Best against the Highlanders, and backed the gritty hooker to show his Test-match credentials.

"I don't think anyone can argue when someone's got over 100 caps for their country that they can't put their hand up and push for a Test start," said Henderson of 34-year-old Best.

"He's one of the first names on Ireland's team sheet. Rory and I were in training together before leaving for the tour, and his mental toughness just shone through again.

"He runs the legs off me and other boys. He's not the fastest, but he'll push himself and keep on going and you'll not get him stopped.

"I can take off quicker than him, but he'll keep on pushing and push past me. That mental toughness sets him apart."

More on this topic

Warren Gatland confident Lions will be 'primed' for Springboks as itinerary is releasedWarren Gatland confident Lions will be 'primed' for Springboks as itinerary is released

Gatland rescued Lions brand, now to protect itGatland rescued Lions brand, now to protect it

Gatland fires back at Jones after ruling out coaching EnglandGatland fires back at Jones after ruling out coaching England

Warren Gatland announced as Lions head coach for 2021 South Africa tourWarren Gatland announced as Lions head coach for 2021 South Africa tour

More in this Section

Vinny Perth: FAI crisis is 'a national emergency'Vinny Perth: FAI crisis is 'a national emergency'

Champions Cup team news: Munster make one change as Saracens' big names return for rematchChampions Cup team news: Munster make one change as Saracens' big names return for rematch

Jurgen Klopp agrees new Liverpool deal until 2024Jurgen Klopp agrees new Liverpool deal until 2024

Steven Gerrard extends Rangers contractSteven Gerrard extends Rangers contract


Lifestyle

Who hasn’t dreamt of cutting ties with the nine-to-five and living off-the-grid?The great escape: What's life like off the grid?

Jazz in Europe these days exists in a highly networked environment of cultural and political bodies, festivals, promoters, musicians and educators.Jazz Connective Festival: Intriguing, exciting and uncompromising

It will be bittersweet for Stormzy that his second album arrives the day the British Labour party was confirmed as suffering a historic general election trouncing.Album review: Stormzy remains a work in progress

Unique drawings by Quentin Blake, one of Britain’s best-loved illustrators, are available at a Christie’s online auction which runs until December 17.Your chance to buy drawings by Roald Dahl illustrator Quentin Blake

More From The Irish Examiner