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When Lions Roared

THE LIONS, THE ALL BLACKS AND THE LEGENDARY TOUR OF 1971

Tom English and Peter Burns

 

  

Longlisted for the William Hill Award, 2017

 

‘Brilliantly written – evocative, powerful and utterly gripping’ – Rugby World

‘Outstanding . . . On all sort of levels, it is a compelling read. The quality of the Lions backs, the coaching intelligence of Carwyn James, the shrewd management of Doug Smith, the growing Kiwi horror at what was unfolding: all of it feels strangely fresh, partly because it is so well told and partly because so much fascinating detail has lain untouched for ages’ – Robert Kitson, Guardian

‘Special. Wondrous insights into the Lions’ only New Zealand win . . . loved it’ – Stephen Jones, The Sunday Times

‘enthralling . . . brilliantly chronicled through the eyes of those that were there’ – Western Mail

‘splendid . . . not only for those of us well steeped in nostalgia, but of a wider and more immediate interest’ – The Scotsman

‘riveting and often spine-tingling’ – The Times

‘a remarkably candid and colourful account’ – The Sunday Independent

‘a brilliant account . . . glorious’ – The Irish Times

 

Brings to life one of the greatest achievements in rugby history

 

The 1971 British & Irish Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand has gone down in history as one of the greatest of all time.

When the enigmatic Welshman Carwyn James was appointed as coach of the side, he faced a gruelling schedule: two matches against powerful provincial sides in Australia that would be packed with Test players, then a hop across the Tasman Sea for a twenty-four match slog around New Zealand, which would include a four-Test series against the All Blacks, the best side on the planet.

No Lions team had ever defeated the All Blacks in a Test series. Since 1904, six Lions sides had travelled to New Zealand and all had returned home with their tails between their legs. But in 1971 a tour party led by John Dawes set out to carve their names into the annals of sporting history with their assault on the great bastion of world rugby.

Lying in wait for them was team after team of hardened rugby warriors from the length and breadth of New Zealand – grizzled forwards, powerful backs and players capable of footballing magic – and an All Blacks team filled with legends of the game. As the Lions began to light up the rugby fields of New Zealand and the Test series loomed large, it became clear that a clash that would echo through the ages was about to unfold.

When Lions Roared delves to the very heart of that famous summer as Lions, All Blacks and provincial players from New Zealand recount their memories to bring to life one of the most celebrated tours in rugby history – one that changed the game forever and continues to resonate powerfully to this day.