Belfast Telegraph

Gatland's boys are urged to emulate heroes of the 1971 tour

 

By Robert Jones

David Duckham has urged the British and Irish Lions to take their places alongside his vintage of 1971 by steeling themselves for the storm he knows is coming on Saturday.

Nearly five decades separate Warren Gatland's men from the only previous successful tour to New Zealand, but Duckham insists the ferocity of an All Blacks team reeling from a rare loss will be every bit as intense.

The great England wing had been overlooked for the triumphant first Test 46 years ago but was present for the remainder of the series, starting two weeks later when the Lions were on the receiving end of a savage backlash in Christchurch.

Victory in the third instalment offered sight of a unique place in history that was sealed when the rivals drew at Eden Park, the setting for Saturday's showdown which Duckham believes will decided by how the tourists combat the looming All Blacks barrage.

"New Zealand came back with a vengeance against us in the second Test and won easily," Duckham (above) said.

"That onslaught we faced was disconcerting and we knew before the match that we had a mountain to climb.

"The 1993 side went close, but they were well beaten in the decider and the Lions will have to be ready for a major onslaught on Saturday because that's the way New Zealand play.

"They'll feel seriously wounded after losing - the All Blacks will be like wounded Lions themselves as they were against us.

"You could see from the way they reacted in the last few minutes in Wellington - they were in panic mode in a way. I've never seen such desperation in a team to claw victory from defeat.

"No one is giving us much of a chance on Saturday but if they get their heads straight and anticipate the onslaught that's coming, then they have the capability to do it.

Belfast Telegraph

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