Lions tour: Former Lion says touring fans need to find their voice

A couple of dejected Lions fans after the first test against the All Blacks.
DAVID ROGERS / GETTY IMAGES

A couple of dejected Lions fans after the first test against the All Blacks.

Former British and Irish Lions centre Rob Henderson has bagged touring fans for being "like Victorian children - seen and not heard" at Eden Park.

The 44-year-old, who played three games for the Lions in Australia in 2001, said the Lions supporters needed to get behind Warren Gatland's team for the second test in Wellington.

Henderson, who is in New Zealand following the series, said in his column for the City AM website that he did not want to dwell on the performance of the Lions players in the 30-15 first test defeat.

Lions fans need to make more noise in New Zealand, says former Lion Rob Henderson.
David Rogers

Lions fans need to make more noise in New Zealand, says former Lion Rob Henderson.

He wanted instead to "look at our behaviour in the stands as supporters".

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"While the All Blacks machine was purring through the gears and the Lions team growled in defiance on occasion, we never seemed to get going in the stands which came as a massive surprise to me.

A Lion fans looks dejected during first test loss to the All Blacks.
David Rogers

A Lion fans looks dejected during first test loss to the All Blacks.

'Back in 2001, when I played for the Lions in Australia, the atmosphere in the stadiums was electric and buoyed by the fact that the travelling fans were certainly a 16th man by out-singing the opposition and generally being raucous.

"How will be ever forget the immortal 'Waltzing O'Driscoll, Waltzing O'Driscoll' ringing out in The Gabba which roared us on to a magnificent victory?"

But Henderson said he "saw and heard little of this on Saturday night [in Auckland].

British & Irish Lions fans at Auckland's Queens Wharf fanzone.
Dave Simpson

British & Irish Lions fans at Auckland's Queens Wharf fanzone.

"It is hard enough for the players to travel halfway around the world to take on the best team on the planet in their own back yard without the legion of fans who have made the trip behaving like Victorian children – seen and not heard."

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Henderson, who won 29 caps for Ireland, said Lions fans had a chance to "put things right" in Wellington.

"We as supporters can do nothing about team selection or weather conditions so we have to control what we can in order to try to win the second test.

Rob Henderson playing for Ireland against Scotland.
DAN CHUNG

Rob Henderson playing for Ireland against Scotland.

"So I for one will be shouting, cheering and singing as loudly - and tunefully - as I possibly can and if all 25,000 of us travelling supporters join in then we certainly have a chance at making history.

"So grab your song sheets, clear your throats and let's give the ABs a boot in Wellington."

Henderson praised the "pre-match hype and razzmatazz" in the "numerous bars and restaurants of Auckland's vibrant quayside" and enjoyed the "clash of the colours".

"Lions fans in red morph suits battling with Kiwi supporters dressed in full panda attire [were] my personal favourite."

Henderson's comments were highlighted on the Wales Online website in Cardiff - a city which prides itself on the standard of the singing at the Millennium Stadium.

 - Stuff

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