Forty years ago this month, a British Lions rugby union team featuring a host of legendary Welsh players began a tour to New Zealand. That team is still the only Lions to beat the All Blacks in a Test series on their own soil.
To mark the anniversary, ITV Wales presents “The Lions That Roared” on Tuesday, 28 June (7.30pm, ITV1 Wales). This special edition of current affairs strand “Wales This Week”, features exclusive behind-the-scenes colour footage of the 1971 tour and interviews with some of the players.
Tour captain John Dawes, Barry John, Gareth Edwards, Gerald Davies, Mervyn Davies and John Taylor share their memories of the trip and recall the vital role played by the great coach, Carwyn James. Equally legendary All Blacks captain Sir Colin Meads also contributes to the programme.
In addition to highlights from the Test matches and provincial games, the programme shows footage of the players in off-the-field activity – relaxing in hotels, singing on the tour coach and enjoying a boat trip.
Mick Reynolds was the HTV cameraman who went with the team and his pictures – now part of the ITV Wales archive – remain the only colour footage of the historic tour.
Producer Richard Morgan says: “The achievement of ‘71 still resonates down the decades. Listening to the players today and looking at the wonderful archive footage you can see why.”
Wales This Week: The Lions That Roared (7.30pm, Tuesday 28 June, ITV1 Wales)
Viewers across the UK will be able to see the programme post-transmission on ITV Wales’ website: http://www.itv.com/wales/