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British & Irish Lions: Alastair Campbell joins Will Greenwood to talk 2005 tour and life at No 10 under Tony Blair

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Every match from the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa will be exclusively live on Sky Sports; fans who don’t have Sky will be able to catch all the action via streaming service NOW, which offers day and month passes

Former Downing Street director of communications Alastair Campbell joined Will Greenwood to discuss the 2005 tour of New Zealand, putting “the fear of god” into Steve Thompson, and life under Tony Blair.

Campbell was head of communications for Clive Woodward’s side that went to New Zealand 16 years ago, where they were beaten 3-0 by the All Blacks in the Tests.

The tour was Greenwood’s third and final as a player, replacing injured captain Brian O’Driscoll less than a minute into the first Test in Christchurch and starting the third Test in Auckland where he partnered stand-in skipper Gareth Thomas.


Campbell recalled some of his favourite moments from the tour, including Thomas snatching his phone away to speak to the person on the other line, only to find out it was then-Prime Minister Blair.

He also told of the time his mobile phone was taken by Thompson as a prank, before it was swiftly returned when Campbell asked the head of Lions security to convince the hooker that government officials were after him.

The pair discuss whether Campbell had any regrets from going to New Zealand, his time at Downing Street under Blair, and his love for Premier League side Burnley.

Greenwood is hosting a weekly Lions podcast ahead of Warren Gatland’s tourists taking on the world Champion Springboks over the summer – all the games from the 2021 tour will be shown live on Sky Sports.



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