Book on Controversial 1974 Lions Tour Shortlisted for Rugby Book of the Year Award

Welsh Books Council

Book on Controversial 1974 Lions Tour Shortlisted for Rugby Book of the Year Award - 06 May 2015

Published last summer to mark 40 years since the British and Irish Lions team triumphed in South Africa,  Undefeated  is now in its second edition. Penarth author Rhodri Davies will join the likes of football’s fiery Roy Keane and flamboyant golfer Ian Poulter at the prestigious awards ceremony, which will take place at Lord’s Cricket Ground on the 3rd of June, and will be filmed for broadcast on SkySports TV.

Now in its 13th year, the awards have been split into nine categories representing the most high profile sports in the UK, and celebrate the very best in sports writing and publishing. Books by Gareth Thomas, Chrs Froome and Nicole Cooke are amongst other shortlisted titles.

For years the British and Irish Lions team that triumphed in South Africa in 1974 lived in the shadow of the great 1971 touring party that won a famous series in New Zealand under Carwyn James. But the 1974 side remain the only Lions never to be beaten and in  Undefeated, author Rhodri Davies makes a strong case for crediting that touring party as the greatest ever.

The book re-appraised their astonishing achievement in South Africa on the tour’s 40th anniversary, and allowed the players to lift the lid on the political turmoil, the fierce on-field battles, the myths, the realities and the vocal criticism that dogged their progress. It was a compelling, controversial yet ultimately triumphant campaign, which re-wrote the history books. The 1974 Lions overcame what seemed like insurmountable odds, and their feats have never since been matched.

Rhodri Davies said:  "I was inspired to write the book having produced and presented a television documentary for S4C in 2011 celebrating the achievement of the earlier 1971 Lions in New Zealand. Their historic and iconic series win was rightly lauded on its 40th anniversary, but it started me thinking about the subsequent tour  – the 1974 Lions venture to South Africa  – which if anything surpassed the feats of the 1971 vintage. Yet that tour has never been celebrated to the same extent. My question was why?

"Undefeated  addresses that question, and also gives the 1974 Lions their rightful due  – as arguably the greatest Lions ever. Other than two books published in the immediate aftermath of the tour, there has been little focus on the 1974 Lions’ achievement over the past 40 years."

Rhodri Davies is an award-winning broadcaster and journalist who has worked on news, sport, documentary and magazine programmes for the BBC, ITV and S4C. He has covered Lions tours, Rugby World Cups, Six Nations Championships and club competitions throughout Europe, as well as producing and presenting Llewod ’71, a celebration of the 1971 Lions tour to New Zealand.

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