The event

Tuesday 12th December | Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol

Bristol Sporting Dinners will be hosting a Christmas Lunch with some very special guests, the 2013 and 2017 Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland OBE and tour Captain for 2013 and 2017, Sam Warburton.

A fantastic and intriguing afternoon awaits for you and your customers to come and listen, including a Q&A session, to the men at the heart of this historical series between the 2017 British and Irish Lions and the New Zealand All Blacks.

Warren and Sam will give an insight into the unique challenges that present themselves on facing the most successful team in history on their own soil – a place where they had not lost since 2009 and at a venue where they had not lost since 1994 – the New Zealand All Blacks are truly a formidable opponent on home soil.

In 2009 Warren Gatland was named as assistant coach to Sir Ian McGeechan, which unfortunately concluded in a 2-1 loss to South Africa.

In 2013 Warren was appointed Lions Head Coach for the tour of Australia, which resulted in a 2-1 series win and formed a winning partnership with Sam Warburton who was Captain for that tour.

With only 1 series win over the All Blacks in 1971 ever being recorded, and the current back-to-back World Champions being the hosts the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand…this was going to be the toughest trip yet!

No one was giving the 2017 British and Irish Lions a chance, especially those in New Zealand. With many of the franchises being as good as most International sides this was going to be a very formidable trip and one which could define Warren Gatland as a respected coach in his native New Zealand.

When the call came from the Lions management to be the 2017 NZ Lions Head Coach many questions must have been going through his head…however the competitor in Warren grabbed the opportunity and produced a historic series draw that will go down in rugby folklore for years to come.

The first test arrives and the Lions defensive structure and line speed being something the All Blacks had targeted and was a big weapon for the Lions – to negate this the All Blacks played primarily off 9 to nullify the line speed which had been successful during the previous games – the All Blacks won 30-15.

With the series now reaching desperate stakes the Lions had to be defensively herculean…and compete at the breakdown to both secure Lions ball and compete and slow down the All Blacks ball. On that night in Wellington, the Lions were exactly that with Sam Warburton playing a huge role in both securing and competing for All Black ball, winning the 2nd test 24-21 with All Blacks not scoring a single try – the All Blacks had scored a try in the previous 38 games.

Back to Eden Park, Auckland, where the All Blacks had not failed to win since 1994 when they last drew a game there. The game was like the series with both sides trading punches and the game eventually ending in a 15-15 draw and the spoils of the series being shared.

The NZ press and others have been very critical and vocal about the final decision made by Roman Poite, and yes I have to agree the decision was wrong, a penalty to the Lions should have been given for challenge in the air by All Blacks No 8 Keiran Reid. This would have resulted in a kick to touch up-field, the All Blacks then commit another line-out infringement of playing the man in the air, penalty in kicking distance. Owen Farrell steps up and the rest is history! So sit down to all you All Blacks supporters and stop whinging!

Your host for the day will be David Flatman or “Flats”. A former England International himself and now a very successful TV pundit.

This will be a great afternoon of insights into the running of the Lions with some hilarious anecdotes from those in attendance.

Warren Gatland OBE

WARREN DAVID GATLAND OBE was born in Hamilton (17th Sept 1963), New Zealand and was educated at Hamilton Boys High School and Waikato University. As a player, Warren was one of Waikato’s longest serving players, having played 140 games for the province, a record at the time. An uncompromising hooker. He played 17 non-international matches for New Zealand but unfortunately never won an international All Black cap.

Warren launched his coaching career as a player/coach for Taupiri (NZ) in 1989, before moving to Galwegians RFC (Ireland) after visiting during a tour and so began the coaching journey

Coaching Career

Years Club / Country (Position) Highlights
1989 Taupiri / NZ (player/coach)
1989-94 Galwegians / Ireland Promotion into All-Ireland league div 2


1994-96 Thames Valley / NZ NPC promotion into Div 2


1996-98 Connacht/Ireland

(Dir of Rugby)

European Challenge Cup Qtr finalists
1998-00 Ireland Head Coach (replacing Brian Ashton) Winning in Paris for first time since 1972

2001 – 2nd in six nations championship

2000-01 Wasps/Eng

(assistant coach)

Avoided relegation after being bottom when joining
2001-05 Wasps/Eng (Dir of Rugby) 2003/04/05 Premiership Champions

2002-03 European Challenge Cup winners

2003-04 European Heineken Cup Winners

2006-07 Waikato/NZ (head coach) NPC Cup Winners


2007-to date Wales (Head Coach) 2008 Grand Slam Winners

2012 Grand Slam Winners

2013 6 Nations Champions

2009 Lions tour South Africa

(assistant coach)

Series lost 2-1
2013 Lions tour Australia

(Head Coach)

Lions win Series – 2-1
2017 Lions tour New Zealand

(Head Coach)

Drawn series 1-1
2021 Lions tour South Africa



Sam Warburton

SAM KENNEDY WARBURTON was born in Cardiff (5th October 1988), to English parents yet he considers himself Welsh and British. Sam has an older twin brother, Ben, who played rugby at semi-professional level with Glamorgan Wanderers RFC and is now a physiotherapist for the Cardiff Blues and an older sister, Holly, who is a schoolteacher.

As a youngster Sam was also a keen football player and played for his school team alongside schoolmate and now Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale……after a trial with Cardiff City, aged 14, Sam choose wisely to concentrate on rugby instead.

Sam played junior rugby for Rhiwbina RFC and latterly for Glamorgan Wanderers RFC whilst a member of the Cardiff Blues Acedemy.

Sam went onto represent Wales at all levels, including being captain of the u18s, u19s and u20s and made his full international debut on 6th June 2009 versus USA.

On 4th June 2011 at the age of 22 years and 242 days Sam became the 2nd youngest captain of Wales, behind a certain Gareth Edwards, and in August 2011 was named as the Welsh Captain for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

After a very impressive tournament for the Welsh, defeating Ireland in the quarters the Welsh faced France for a place in the World Cup Final against the hosts New Zealand. The game started and with 18 minutes gone Sam tackled the dangerous French Winger Vincent Clerc, the dual nationality French/Irish referee Alain Rolland deemed the tackle to be dangerous gave Sam a red card. Not deserved!

Despite the sending off Sir Ian McGeechan, the Lions head coach named Sam player of the tournament.

On 30th April 2013, at the age of 24, Sam was the youngest man to be named as British and Irish Lions Captain for the upcoming tour to Australia. Sam played in the first 2 test matches but unfortunately missed the final last test with an injury. The 3rd test was won and captain on the day Alun Wyn-Jones and Sam lifted the Tom Richards Trophy after winning their first series since 1997.

In April 2017 Sam was named as Captain of the British and Irish Lions for a second time for the upcoming tour to New Zealand – the toughest place to tour and play rugby.

The breakdown is critical to any game and Sam is arguably the best in the business but it was Sam’s diplomatic captaincy skills that should not be forgotten –  he “questioned” if in the 79th minute of the 3rd test, when the scores are level, the series level if Romain Poite could possibly “re-consider” if the original decision of “off-side” could possibly be down-graded to “accidental off-side”??

Romain Poite had earlier in the season told the England Captain that “I’m a referee, not a coach” so this was a risky strategy!!

Sam’s Stats

Years Team Appearances Points
2006-2009 Glamorgan Wanderers


27 10


Cardiff Blues 105 45
2009-present Wales


74 25


British and Irish Lions 2 0
2017 British and Irish Lions 3 0


Your host, David Flatman

DAVID LUKE FLATMAN or “Flats” – was born in Maidstone, Kent on 21st January 1980 and started his rugby playing career with his home town club 8 years later. A product of Dulwich College and appeared in an England Schools team (u18 age group) with Steve Borthwick, Andrew Sheridan, Mike Tindall and a little lad that goes by the name of “Jonny”.

David went on to represent England at U21 level and after impressive performances for his club, Saracens he toured South Africa with England and made his full international debut on the tour. A very impressive 1-1 drawn series away from home.

In 2003 David moved to Bath where he proved himself to be one of the finest front row forwards in English rugby.

In 2012 after a very successful career as a player at Bath Rugby David retired from playing and went on to be Head of Communications at Bath Rugby.  He finished in 2014 and has since had a very successful career as pundit for Channel 5, ITV and BT Sport.

Flats also presents, co-hosts with ex-Wales and Lions Centre Tom Shanklin an informative rugby podcast that addresses some very very serious issues in rugby –

Flats is a great host and great company and you will all have a great afternoon with him in charge of the microphone!

Watch the action

The venue

ASHTON GATE, Bristol, is the home of Bristol City FC and Bristol Rugby and is one of the largest multi-purpose conference and exhibition venues in the South West. With over 5000 square meters of floor space to hold events/meetings that can accommodate 2-1200 delegates. All rooms have air conditioning, WIFI access, 3 Phase power and LED screens.

Onsite Facilities and Leisure

Coffee shop: open from 8am-4pm on weekdays the Coffee Shop at Ashton Gate Stadium offers breakfast, brunch, cakes, tea, coffee and soft drinks throughout the day. All bread and cakes are supplied by local independent artisan bread makers.

Sports Bar: featuring the largest LG indoor pub screen in Europe and 15 LEF screens, Bristol Sports Bar and Grill is the best place to watch live sport in Bristol.

Address: Ashton Gate Stadium, Ashton Road, Bristol BS3 2EJ

Train Stations:  Bristol Temple Meads ( National Rail Enquiry Services 0845 748 4950 )

Last train times: 21.50 > Bath / Chippenham / Swindon | 22.00 > Cheltenham | 22.54 > Newport / Cardiff | 23.36 > Weston-super-Mare / Taunton / Exeter

Airports: Bristol International Airport (6.5 miles) | Cardiff International Airport (55.3 miles)

Motorways: M5 junction 18 (5.8 miles) | M4 junction 19 (7.7 miles) | M32 junction 3 (2.7 miles)

Hotels: The Avon Gorge Hotel ( 1.5 miles ) | Mercure Holland House Hotel ( 1.7 miles ) | The Bristol Hotel ( 2.2 miles ) | Doubletree Hilton ( 2.3 miles )

Directions by car:

From M5: leave the M5 motorway at junction 18, travel along the Portway (A4) following the signs for Bristol Airport/Taunton (A38). Over the swing bridge (Brunel Way), branching left into Winterstoke Road, and left again at the traffic lights for Ashton Gate. Street parking is limited so please arrive early and adhere to parking restrictions.

From M4: at junction 19, exit onto M32 towards Bristol. Continue on A4032. Turn left at A4044/Bond Street. Continue to follow A4044. At Temple Circus Gyratory, take the 2nd exit onto A4/Templegate. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto A370/York Road. Continue to follow A370. Go through one roundabout. Slight left to merge onto Brunel Way. Take the next left at traffic lights for Ashton Gate.

Your programme

Doors open for pre-reception drinks
Lunch is served

Cerleriac soup, truffle & chives (V)

Main course
Roast turkey, roast root vegatables, chestnut stuffing, roast potatoes, chicken jus
– or –
Butternut squash, leek and chestnut wellington, glazed carrot (V)

White chocolate, Christmas pudding dome

Speakers / Q&A
Charity auction
Thank yous

Sponsor packages

Package Title Sponsor Diamond Platinum Gold
Private table Headline table with headline speaker Yes
( A sports star on table )
Yes Yes
VIP Pre-drinks reception Yes
Private with speakers and others
Private with speakers and others
Cash bar Cash bar
Table location Headline table front of room Front row in front of stage Prime table location Rear and sides of room
3 course meal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wine on table Unlimited wine with meal Unlimited wine with meal Half bottle per person ( can pre-order extra ) Half bottle per person ( can pre-order extra )
Advert in programme Full page Half page Quarter page No
Photos with sports star Yes Yes Yes No
Company branding in drinks reception Yes No No No
Company branding in main room Yes No No No
Company branding on TV Screens Yes Yes Yes No
Secure onsite parking ( overnight if necessary ) Yes Yes No No
Price per package Price on request £3,950 + vat £1,950 + vat £1,250 + vat


For all enquiries and to discuss your booking either call Jarad Collard or submit the enquiry form below.

07500 28 28 21


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