‘Lions tour bigger than World Cup’

Lawrence Dallaglio has described the Lions’ victory over the Springboks as better than World Cup glory in 2003.

Dallaglio had an illustrious career that climaxed with England beating Australia in the World Cup final in 2003, but he describes winning with the Lions as the best part of his career. Dallaglio started all three Tests in 1997, while he also toured in 2001 and 2005.

‘When I look back at my career, that 1997 Lions tour is probably the highlight for me,’ said Dallaglio.

Dallaglio emphasised what it meant for the tourists to unite and conquer the world champions.

‘To win a Lions series in South Africa was stunning – the best experience of my life. We had wonderful players. I made friendships on that trip that will last a lifetime,’ he said.

‘The Lions is a great concept,’ Dallaglio told Sky Sports Magazine.

‘You spend four years kicking lumps out of each other, then you get put into a hotel together and a few weeks later you’re up against one of the best teams in the world. It’s fantastic.

‘That South African team was the most physical I ever faced and Andre Venter stood out for them. He was a very tough, physical player. But we had 45,000 fans cheering us on and that was a wonderful feeling.”

Meanwhile, Wales fullback and favourite for the No 15 jersey Lee Byrne rates the Lions’ chances of repeating Dallaglio and co’s feat.

‘I can’t wait to get out there,’ said Byrne. ‘I think we have got a very good chance of winning the series and creating some history again.

‘It would be great to be part of something special.’

Byrne believes the Lions have the talent to match the Boks man for man.

‘I definitely think we can do it. Looking at the composition of the squad there’s strength throughout it,’ he said.

‘The mix is very good. It’s nice to see plenty of Welsh boys in it.’