Gregor Townsend Lifts The Lid On The Lions’ Boozy Nights Out In The Spirit Of 1997


Lions assistant coach Gregor Townsend has revealed that the players have been working on resurrecting the spirit of 1997 – with some old-school drinking sessions.

Townsend was a part of that legendary tour to South Africa in 1997, a tour that is arguably the most famous of all Lions tours, largely due to the Living With Lions documentary that gave us a brilliant behind-the-scenes look at the shenanigans the squad got up to.

Keith Wood wearing a wig, leading Kangaroo court is an image we’ll never forget and it sounds like the current crop of Lions are looking to emulate the success of that tour both on – and off the pitch!

“There were a few things going on that meant there were stories the next day!” Townsend said.

“It’s good to see coaches and players chatting together. There were songs being sung, and we didn’t do that in 1997. There was a lot of chat about the night we had in the Weybridge pub – the night before we left in ’97.

“I still remember sitting with Mark Regan at the bar at two in the morning. I just couldn’t stop laughing while listening to him. That’s how bonds are formed and we’ve seen that with this group so far.

“We went to a couple of restaurants, but it’s been more back at the hotel where we’ve been having those periods together.

Townsend credited Warren Gatland for understanding the importance of nights out with the players and staff to help bring them together and applauded his decision to bring them to Jersey where there are fewer Covid restrictions.

“I believe it’s been a big reason for Warren’s success as a coach. He understands that and he facilitates that,” Townsend added.

“It was genius going to Jersey and being able to use a really good training facility but being away from one of the nations where there are distractions at home, being on an island where there are less Covid restrictions.

“Even though we’ve had to stay in a hotel pretty much, it’s been great for bringing people together.”

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