Beaumont: NZ is 'greatest environment to play rugby'
5 May 2005 19:59pm
Tour manager Bill Beaumont is expecting the 2005 British & Irish Lions to revel in the challenge of playing in front of one of the most knowledgeable crowds in world rugby this summer.
However, Beamount is all too aware the New Zealand audience will be desperate for their side to triumph over Sir Clive Woodward's men in the three-Test series.
"For a rugby player New Zealand is the greatest environment to play rugby because it rivals south Wales for knowledgeable crowds," Beaumont said.
"They welcome you with both arms but can't wait to beat you. Rugby is their national brand. And while there will be pressure on the Lions there is massive pressure on their players."
Back on the tour of 1977 Beaumont was one of 30 players, compared to Woodward's 44-man party.
Beaumont recognises times have changed, adding: "It's a squad game now and it's a case of giving every player the best chance possible.
"It's a lot different to my day when the hooker and the scrum-half were always knackered because they were either playing or being sub in every match.
"In those days we had just two sets of kit and there was no swapping shirts at the end of the game. We couldn't afford to! They went straight to the wash although we were allowed to keep one of them at the end of the tour."