Lee Byrne is a former Welsh International Rugby Union player. Byrne’s usual position was full-back, although he also played on the wing. Starting his career playing dual-code rugby, Byrne’s first played for Bridgend Athletic RFC, and later Tondu RFC. He was then later spotted playing Rugby League for Bridgend Blue Bulls, and signed for the Llanelli Scarlets. Following on from his top-flight performances for the Llanelli Scarlets in both the Celtic League and Heineken Cup, Byrne was called up to the national squad for the November Test series.
Byrne made hius debut as a replacement against the All Blacks in November at the Millennium Stadium. Byrne later played in the win ove Fiji as well as the unfortunate loss to South Africa. Since then, Byrne has played in the 2006 Six Nations Championship, and earned a further two caps in a mid-year series against Argentina.
His sole appearance in the 2006 Autumn internationals was on the wing against the Pacific Islands. Byrne was a revelation in the 2008 Six Nations Championship tournament at full-back and a key component of Wales’ Grand Slam. Whilst playing against Connacht in 2007, Byrne demonstrated his abilities as a stand-in kicker when he kicked two penalties and two conversions, after fly-half Shaun Connor went off injured. Byrne scored tries against England & Italy in the 2008 Six Nations Championship.
Following his superb performances for Wales in the 2008 Autumn Internationals against South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, Byrne had been tipped not only for a place in the British and Irish Lions Squad, but also a place in the starting 15. This was confirmed in April of 2009, when Byrne, along with Ireland’s Rob Kearney, was selected as one of the British and Irish Lions’ fullbacks for the tour.
After the fourth tour match, Byrne was one of five players to be picked for three of them. In January of 2014, it was reported that Byrne had agreed to join Newport Gwent Dragons from the end of the 2013/14 season. In April of 2015, it was announced Byrne was to retire from all rugby with immediate effect, after failing to recover from a shoulder injury.
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