Bobby Windsor

Bobby Windsor

Two tours, five Tests, 1974-77

Two tours, five Tests, 1974-77

(1974: 4 Tests; 1977: 1 Test)

While captain Willie John McBride was both the totem and father-figure of the invincible Lions of 1974 , few of his charges encapsulated the winning spirit of that team better than hooker Bobby Windsor.

The Pontypool steelworker combined the same mix of technical excellence, brute force, raw courage and freedom of spirit that fuelled the squad's flight to victory over the Springboks.

Windsor, or 'The Duke', as his team-mates knew him, had been schooled for international honours by the great Pooler coach Ray Prosser and stepped up to Lions status at the end of his first season playing for Wales.

On tour, the 26-year-old thrived on the opportunity to focus solely on his rugby and forced his way into the Test XV ahead of his more experienced Irish rival, Ken Kennedy.

Windsor also quickly marked himself out as one of the characters of the party, supplementing his meagre tour income by shifting the extra kit he had acquired in making several circuits of the table from which the players picked up their official clothing prior to departure, and specifying "egg" when asked by a waiter which sort of omelette he would like.

The former schoolboy outside-half had retained enough of that early instinct to be more than useful in the loose, but it was his hard-nosed presence in the middle of the front row that impressed most, with both the power of his drive and the sharpness of his strike as he, Fran Cotton and Ian McLauchlan laid waste to the Springbok pack.

By the time of the next Lions tour, Windsor was playing in the same front row for both Pontypool and Wales and travelled to New Zealand with club and country mates Charlie Faulkner and Graham Price.

The 'Viet-Gwent', as the feared, fearsome trio were known, teamed up for the Lions against Counties, Bay of Plenty and Fiji in 1977 but never in the Test matches themselves.

Price played in all four internationals, but Faulkner was kept out by Cotton and Windsor was controversially dropped after the first Test in favour of England's Peter Wheeler.

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