THE British Lions have been urged to play the Welsh way when they take on the All Blacks in New Zealand this summer.

But one of Gwent's most decorated players who captained Great Britain in rugby union and league, warns that the Lions may not be able to even if coach Sir Clive Woodward wants to.

Newport chairman David Watkins (pictured) was a member of the 1966 Lions in New Zealand captained by Scotland's army officer, the recently deceased Mike Campbell-Lamerton, and occasionally led the Lions in midweek.

Those Lions were away for five-and-a-half months, travelled by boat and consisted of 30 players and a three-strong management.

Watkins, the former Newport outside half star who also enjoyed a glittering rugby league career with Salford and Great Britain, recalled the 1977 Lions tour to New Zealand in their winter played in almost constant heavy rain with mudbath pitches.

"Whether the Welsh way would be suitable Down Under you would have to ask," he said. "We played the Six Nations in Spring sunshine, but New Zealand could be messy and murky with heavy pitches and you wouldn't be able to play an expansive game.

"Carwyn James (the only man to coach the Lions to a Test series victory in New Zealand in 1971) was the cleverest of them all. New Zealand thought they could play an expansive game, but the Lions had players like Gerald Davies and JPR who cast them aside.

"But how on earth you need 44 players to play 10 games I've no idea, some of them won't have a game, though it's nice Michael Owen and Gareth Cooper are going which keeps up the Rodney Parade tradition."

Watkins is being honoured at a Welsh Charitables dinner at Cardiff Coal Exchange on May 20 when the guest speakers will be Clive Rowlands, Barry John, Richard Sharpe, Steve Fenwick and Jim Mills. Seats are still available for the dinner from David Power on 07973705062.

The Charitables have raised £45,000 in four years for St Anne's Hospice, St David's Foundation, Ty Hafan Children's Hospice and the WRU Charitable Trust.