40 years ago today, the British Lions beat the All Blacks on their own turf. They achieved legendary status by going on to win the test series 2-1, with one test drawn. Rugby was a big part of my life then, and the stars of that tour remain stars in the Glyn Davies 'Hall of Fame' today. Right up there with Trever Hunt, who joined me for a tour of the House of Commons and lunch last week. He was the surgeon who redesigned my lower body 10 years ago, while removing a cancerous tumour from my bowel.
And most of the 1971 Lions were Welsh. Let me list them - in no particular order. Coach Carwyn James, Captain John Dawes, Gareth Edwards, Barry John, JPR Williams, Mervyn Davies, Delme Thomas, Derek Quinnell, John Bevan and John Taylor. There were great players from the other home nations as well. Willie John McBride, Mike Gibson, David Duckham John Pullin, Fergus Slattery, Ian McLaughlan. There was even a second row named Gordon Brown. They were heroes. McBride's forwards never took a step backwards, and Barry John's backs were mesmerising. We all have our favourites. For me, the greatest of them all was Gareth Edwards.
Here's Carwyn's speech before embarking on the mission
- "Look here, I want each one of you to be your own man. Express yourself not as you would in the office for the next three months, but as you would at home. I don't want you Irishmen to pretend to be English, or you English to think you are Celts, or for Scotsmen to be anything but Scottish to the core. You Irish must continue to be ideologists off the field, and on it fighters like Kilkenny cats. Let you English continue to stiffen those upper lips, and simply continue to be superior. And the conservative traditionalism of you Scots - strong, dour, humourless in phony caricature - let it be seen as colourfully fired up these next 90 days by the oil of your country's new-found radicalism. As well, I demand that all of you make sure you let us Welsh continue to be bloody-minded and swaggeringly over-cocky in our triple-crowning arrogance."
Imagine Warren Gatland saying that - or any Welshman being in a position to say that today. 1971 is why we Welsh alway carry a candle of eternal hope. Happy dreams.