Christmas came early for me this year when a preview copy of the behind-the-scenes Lions Tour DVD dropped through my door, and I’m pleased that it is finally released on general sale so that others will watch it, and I’ll be able to discuss it with them.
As expected, Living With The Pride is well worth a watch, and although you know it’s only an edited glimpse of what went on off the field, it’s as close as most of us can get to seeing what touring with the Lions would be like.
The DVD should come with a health warning though, because all the pain and frustration at the Test series defeat comes flooding back, only this time it’s a little bit harder to take because you can see how much it meant to Ian McGeechan and his squad. When Geech sends out his side for the Third Test and then breaks down in tears in the arms of Graham Rowntree, I defy any rugby fan not to well up in sympathy!
All the reports that stated how close the touring party had become, and how enjoyable the tour was for everyone involved, are supported by the three hours of footage with player cam features, coverage of selection meetings and of course the inspirational speeches before an during each game. I would have liked to see more evidence of the nights out that we are told the players enjoyed throughout the tour, but it’s a minor criticism, given that a documentary like this is likely to always leave you wanting more.
Donncha O’Callaghan, Andy Powell and Shaun Edwards stand out in very different ways. The big Irish lock is full of banter and determined to have a good time, Powelly is usually at the receiving end of the banter, and Edwards’ devotion to the cause is impressive and unquestionable, and he’s even involved in an amusing lighter moment.
A highlight of the 1997 version was the now legendary speeches by McGeechan and Jim Telfer, and there is plenty of that in this latest edition. In fact, one of the DVD ‘Extras’ is the full version of all of the speeches, including those by Gerald Davies and Willie John McBride, and this is the sort of thing you could watch twenty times and the hairs on the back of your neck would still stand on their tip-toes.
Edwards’ has his own way of delivering rousing words, including these at half-time of the Third Test: “I can’t be arsed saying specific things that we’re going to do; we’ve just got to keep turning up, turning up, turning up.”
Buy your copy from Amazon, and then let me know what you think of it. I’m dying to discuss it with somebody! Here’s the preview video again…