The no-nonsense, straight talking dual code international enthralled an audience of more than 500 guests at the annual Rugby Writers' Club presentation evening in London this week as he talked about his Lions experiences.
In front of 2009 Lions manager Gerald Davies, head coach Ian McGeechan, coaches Shaun Edwards and Rob Howley and his 1997 team mates Martin Johnson, Jason Leonard, Richard Hill, Lawrence Dallaglio, Ieuan Evans and Howley, 'Bentos' talked about the need for unity.
"The Lions have the right men at the helm and Geech has assembled the right coaching team to work with him," he said.
"I'm pleased he has decided to take a smaller squad than four years ago and there are some other key changes. The fact the players will all be flying out together is one of them, as is the fact they will be sharing rooms.
"There is such a short space of time for the players to bond together that it is vital there are no splits in the camp and nobody flying solo. We made sure that players from different countries roomed with each other and worked hard to getting unity within our group in 1997.
"I can remember going to the first training session before we left and all the rugby league boys (Dai Young, Scott Quinnell, Alan Tait, Allan Bateman, Scott Gibbs and myself) tearing into everyone.
"Martin Johnson commented on the intensity of the training and it was all aimed at setting a standard for the tour ahead. It certainly seemed to work and we worked very hard in training for the whole tour."
As far as selection is concerned, 'Bentos' didn't give anything away on who he feels should go on the tour. But he believes the balance of power could shift from the English to the Celts this time.
"I'm just glad I don't have to pick the team," he said.
"Without a doubt Clive Woodward took too many players in 2005. The challenge for Geech is to ensure he takes the right players with him.
"In 1997, Fran Cotton, Jim Telfer and Geech picked players who had just come back from rugby league and from outside the Premiership in England. That was a old move and I think you can expect a few shocks this time around as well.
"The one thing that Geech always does is pick players who are in form. He doesn't pick on reputation.
"Twelve years ago the Lions management were very focussed on the type of player they wanted and were very clever with
the players they took. The Books were a very good side then and they are again now.
"South Africa is a fantastic country to visit and play rugby in because they worship the game there. They were the reigning world champions in 1997, yet they rather arrogantly went into the first two Tests against us without a recognised goal kicker.
"They picked Henry Honniball at outside half before introducing Percy Montgomery for the third Test.
"Percy kicked the goals in the final game and steered the Springboks to victory, but by then we had won the series. That was 12 years ago and they have been waiting ever since to get their revenge."
That third test victory may have eased some of the pain for the Springboks and their fans after losing the series, but there is pressure also on the Lions to deliver again after only one victory in their past six Tests.
"The Lions will always be strong and will always have a special place in the rugby world. But I don't think they can afford to lose a third series in a row and head to Australia in four years time without a win in 16 years," said Bentley.
"Cometh and moment, cometh the man. There is an opportunity for a group of players to put northern hemisphere rugby back where it was 12 years ago.
"It is going to be a tall order, but it certainly can be done. We weren't supposed to beat the world champions, but we pulled and blended together, worked hard and achieved something very special.
"To be picked for the Lions in the first place was magnificent. I knew I was in with a chance even though England weren't picking me because I'd had a few conversations with Fran Cotton about the tour.
"He said I was in their thoughts and that it was down to me to play well for Newcastle and convince the selectors. But then to be given a start in the test matches was unbelievable.
"Jim and Geech told us all we had the chance to make history before that second Test. They said that in years to come we would meet each other again and be able to exchange a knowing glance - it was a fantastic feeling and every time we meet up we know what we have achieved.
"I just hope the Lions of 2009 can enjoy the same feeling."