The British and Irish Lions of 1974, owing to the feat of an unbeaten tour through South Africa, came to be known as ‘The Invincibles’.
JJ and JPR Williams, Gareth Edwards, Bobby Windsor, Phil Bennett, Mervyn Davies, Fran Cotton and, of course, the greatest Lion of them all, Willie John McBride.
To such a degree do the names still roll off the tongue approaching 50 years on that perhaps ‘The Immortals’ would have been a more fitting moniker.
While those Lions, led by another Ballymena man in coach Syd Millar, are never to be forgotten, few could argue that their latest modern-day successors will live long in the memory.
As this evening’s third and decisive Test brings a fractious and divisive series to a close, McBride remains steadfast in his belief that this tour should have been postponed.
While the standard of rugby and startling discourse surrounding officiating has detracted from the usual spectacle, the absence of supporters, travel through the country, and the looming spectre of Covid-19 that saw games scrapped and influenced selections has been most responsible for dulling the lustre.
"Away back in February when all the guff was going on around the tour, I said there's only one option - cancel it,” says McBride, who made a record 70 appearances for the famous side, including 17 Tests across five tours.
"Even if it had to be cancelled for two years, cancel it, because it was never going to be a proper tour this year.
"Already before all this it was a mess anyway, only playing eight games. That’s not a tour, it’s a trip and that's the height of it. It certainly isn’t a Lions tour.
“At the time, they were talking about the options, should they have it here, should they have it in Australia, all these options. Well, the only option was to cancel it.
"There's no other concept in the world of sport like we have with the Lions and we've torn it apart by making stupid decisions.
“This tour, this trip, should never have happened. It should have been postponed until we could have a proper tour and by proper tour I mean a minimum of 12 or 13 games.
"I find it very sad because Lions tours were a very big part of my life, my rugby life, and I find it very sad the mess that this has become.”
If the tour began on shaky ground, the standard of games has been a hot topic. While the 63-minute opening half to the second Test represented something of a nadir, McBride believes the issue of under-strength warm-up games does no favours to either the tourists or the supporters.
While nobody can expect a true return to the days of three-month, 22-game odysseys across the southern hemisphere, there seems no doubt that racking up between 49 and 71 points against the South African franchises minus their international contenders did little to stress-test combinations before the Springboks.
The need for bio-secure bubbles certainly did not help matters but in general it has been a growing trend over recent tours.
McBride laughs when reminded that back in ’74 Morne du Plessis played three times against his Lions for three different teams over a span of 10 days.
"They were meaningful fixtures,” he says of battles against names now consigned to the past such as Transvaal, Orange Free State and Natal.
"We had a few good wins against the smaller areas (including 97-0 against South West Districts) but that was part of it too, taking the game to various corners of the country.
"We needed those midweek games to build a Test side to see who the best players were and see what the best combinations were.
"But winning every game by 50 or 60 points, that’s not the Lions, that’s not rugby.
"We've forgotten why we play the game. There's a number of things I'd be going after viciously if I was in charge.
“I don't know who is making the decisions nowadays, obviously it's the money that is in charge.
“We've lost the concept of what the Lions is about. But that's professionalism.”
And yet there remains a sense that, given the magnitude of a Test series, many could forgive the missteps if the headline act had been engaging. While both games have been high on tension, and today’s decider could yet against the odds prove defining, to date this has been a series dominated by the treatment of officials, led by Rassie Erasmus’ incredible Twitter behaviour, and debates over attacking ambition or lack thereof.
Indeed, McBride found last week’s fare almost unwatchable and worries what a prolonged providing of such quality on the sport’s biggest stage will do for participation numbers in the future.
"I'm an old man now but I still meet quite a few people out and about," says the 91-year-old.
“And I've met a lot of people out and about this week who have said, 'Oh, we watched that game of yours on Saturday’. And they thought it was terrible.
“Those are all parents who have children who won't be wanting to play our game.
"All this about Twitter, I don't even know what that is. To me that's some guys twittering away in the corner.
"But you don't criticise the officials, certainly not in public. There's other, official, methods.
"I played on five Lions tours and never once did we have a neutral referee but we lived with it.
“In 1974, some of the refereeing was ridiculous, and I remember saying to the players, 'Let's not moan and complain, let's just be better in every aspect of our game. Let's never be No.2, let's always be No.1’.
"Last Saturday, I sat at home and watched the game with two friends, one of them a Lion himself, Ronnie Lamont, and halfway through I said, 'Guys, do you mind if I turn this off because it's rubbish?'
"They said, 'Awk, we'll keep it on to see what happens’, but I wouldn't have bothered otherwise.
"It doesn't excite me. I used to get very excited about a Lions tour and it would bring back such wonderful memories but not anymore.
"It must be a disaster to be a rugby player at the present time. It'd be miserable to be a Lion on a trip like this.”