Where are they now? Sean Lynch

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The Independent Online
THE year was 1971, as it turned out a vintage one for the Lions in New Zealand in which a vintner from Dublin was given an unexpected taste of the action. Sean Lynch had started the tour among the dirt- trackers, but the prop suddenly found himself catapulted into the Test side after a brutal Canterbury had wiped out two thirds of the Lions' front row.

'Only twice have I been afraid on the field,' Gareth Edwards said, '. . .once playing for Cardiff against Neath in 1967 and again facing Canterbury. Everyone knows how battered Sandy Carmichael was. His eyes closed up and you could hardly recognise him. Ray McLoughlin broke a thumb. I heard the referee say to John Dawes, 'I've had enough. What happens now is up to you.'

Carmichael's severe facial injuries resulted in Lynch being called up at tight head for the first Test in Dunedin the following Saturday, while Ian McLauchlan, the five- foot Scottish loose head known as the Mighty Mouse, was brought in for McLoughlin. England's John Pullin was the hooker and there was no shifting the newly-forged trio from then on.

Lynch was a diligent forward and he filled the berth admirably. Off the field he was noted for his traditional Irish singing, while on it the Lions had good cause to sing his praises. The first and third Tests were won, the last drawn, while the 2-1 series win over the All Blacks has yet to be matched.

'The daily allowance was 15 bob in New Zealand,' Lynch, now the landlord of the Swan in Dublin, said. 'You could hardly buy a box of matches for that nowadays. But it was an experience all right. I'm following the current tour with interest, of course, and I do wish them every success.'

(Photograph omitted)

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