The 1974 British & Irish Lions became to be known as The Invincibles after crushing South Africa and winning 21 of their 22 matches on tour – but at least one member of the party had a weak spot.
On one team excursion to Kruger National Park – one of the largest game reserves in Africa – Bobby Windsor got up close and personal with one of his biggest fears. And it certainly wasn’t a Springbok.
“I remember Bobby Windsor, despite being the hardest man in the squad, being petrified of snakes,” Gareth Edwards recalled to WalesOnline.
“We were sat in the Kruger National Park and all of a sudden the door opens and someone throws in a snake.
“I’ll never forget the look of panic on Bob’s face, I’ve never seen anybody move so fast in all my life.
“If anyone was in the way he would have knocked them flat out.”
The Lions would go on to complete a 3-0 series victory in South Africa, playing like a side that had no doubt they’d go on to create history.
But Edwards, who had a newborn child waiting for him at home, concedes the weight of expectations following a successful New Zealand tour three years prior did not make the job any easier.
“The strength of the ’74 tour was the unity of the whole squad,” Edwards added.
“The successful Lions tour of New Zealand four years earlier had created a certain expectation on us to perform.
“It was an intense tour and especially difficult for me because my wife had given birth some four days before we left for South Africa.
“Suddenly I felt an added burden of responsibility that I had never had before.
“People may think it was a three month holiday but when you play 24 or 25 games it is relentless.
“We were playing every Wednesday and Saturday, travelling and training between. It was hard.”
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