Beaumont proud to be at helm

British & Irish Lions tour manager Bill Beaumont has revealed his pride at taking charge of what could be a historic tour to New Zealand this summer. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

British & Irish Lions tour manager Bill Beaumont has revealed his pride at taking charge of what could be a historic tour to New Zealand this summer.

The former England skipper, who made his Lions debut against the All Blacks in 1977, admits the prospect of being involved with the side once again has stirred some old passions.

"I have fond memories of playing with such great players as Gordon Brown, Derek Quinnell, Terry Cobner and Phil Bennett," he said.

"There were no World Cups back then so it was a special year and being a Lion was the pinnacle of my career.

"I’m a great Lions person and that’s why being manager means a hell of a lot to me."

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Not that a Lions tour back in the days of amateurism could in any way be compared with the forthcoming tour masterminded by Sir Clive Woodward.

Back on the tour of 1977 Beaumont was one of 30 players accompanied by one coach and one manager but the Lions 2005-style will travel with 29 back-room staff alone, including eight coaches.

Beaumont, initially sceptical about the need for what appears to be a small army of helpers, accepted that the demands of the modern game necessitated such numbers.

"It’s true there were no physios or doctors on my tours as a player, we just used the local ones down in Dunedin or wherever we were," added Beaumont who also led the North of England to a famous victory over the touring All Blacks in 1979.

"I know there are 29 staff on this trip but once the concept was explained to me by Clive I could see the validity in his thinking.

"For instance, you have to duplicate for the doctor, the physio and the masseur because they are the hardest-worked people on the tour. They have to have some down-time."

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