Willie John McBride on Canterbury: "It was a total disgrace and I'll never forget it"

Sandy Carmichael had 27 fractures in his cheekbones by the end of the match

BY Simon Maguire 15:13 Wednesday 5 July 2017, 15:13 5 Jul 2017

Willie John McBride ©INPHO/Allsport

The Off the Ball Lions Legends night was a huge success at the RDS last week.

The team were joined by Keith Wood, Willie John McBride, Ciaran Fitzgerald, Malcolm O'Kelly, Nick Popplewell, Fergus Slattery, Luke Fitzgerald and David Wallace as they reminisced over Tours past in front of a live audience.

Arguably the biggest cheer of the night went to the legendary Willie John McBride. 

"When I think back, my first tour was 55 years ago and 55 years ago I didn't think I'd be at the RDS in front of a thousand people tonight," he said, adding: "Wonderful memories right through all those years. 

"To be considered to be one of the best of the four counties as it was then - there were only 30 of us selected at that time - to be considered one of the best of the 30 players from the four countries was really special.

"The greatest thing you can do is play for your country but after that we're lucky in that we have that little bit of cream in the Lions," he said.

McBride and Fergus Slattery discussed one of the most infamous matches in Lions history - the game against Canterbury during the 1971 Tour.

"It was a total disgrace and I'll never forget it," said McBride. "Sandy Carmichael our prop-forward - he got beaten in, both his cheekbones."

"He had about 27 fractures in his cheekbones," Slattery interjected, "the guy who did it to him was Alister Hopkinson, the guy who hit me in the eight minute of the game. (As for) Sandy Carmichael - it ended his tour. Mick Hipwell - ended his tour and Ray McLoughlin - ended his tour. And this was the Saturday before your first test."

McBride continued: "Well you've sort of skirted over Ray McLoughlin. Now Ray McLoughlin who I always regarded as a very intelligent man and he hit a guy called Alex Wyllie on the head and broke his thumb! 

"So we lost or two prop-forwards who would have been in the test side - there's no doubt about that. But that game was a total disgrace. I don't think there was a ball on the field for the first half hour. It really was terrible," he added.

The full live show can be heard here:

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