David Duckham

David Duckham

One tour, three Tests

One tour, three Tests

1971 David Duckham was perhaps the unsung hero of the great Lions backline of 1971 . But his captain, John Dawes , rated his left wing's contribution every bit as highly as that of Mike Gibson , Barry John and Gareth Edwards inside him.

Duckham thrived on the opportunity he was given by coach Carwyn James to explore the full range of his talents, something he was often denied by the tighter gameplan he operated under with England . So exciting became his running that he even became an honorary Welshman, known henceforth in the Principality as 'Dai'.

The Coventry wing, who had begun his career as a centre, had both speed and strength and an armoury that included side-steps, a deceiving body swerve and a dangerous ability to cut inside from the touchline. In New Zealand , those skills made him the tour's second leading try-scorer, with 11 from the 16 matches he played.

Six of those came in one match, when he played on the right wing against West Coast-Buller and set a record for a visiting player in New Zealand .

Duckham was chosen ahead of John Bevan for the final three Tests of the series and, although he did not score, he played a key role in the tourists' success.

His combination with JPR Williams on the counter-attack proved particularly successful, the duo regularly working a scissors move to bring Duckham infield to alter the angle of attack.

His defence also impressed, particularly in the fourth Test at Auckland , where his tackling helped the Lions to the draw they needed to seal the series win.

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