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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
History of the Lions: The 1960s
By Sean Davies
BBC Sport


Scotland wing Arthur Smith led out the biggest pack ever chosen by the home unions and promised a competitive series, the first Test at Ellis Park ending in a battling 3-3 draw.

The score could have been repeated at King's Park, Durban, but Welsh lock Keith Rowlands had a try controversially disallowed for the Springboks to run out 3-0 winners.

The third Test saw the first caps in the distinguished Lions careers of Willie John McBride and Tom Kiernan, but the home side were too strong in Cape Town, claiming an 8-3 victory.

The tour came to a sorry end in Bloemfontein as the injury-ravaged Lions conceded six tries in falling to a record 34-14 loss to the rampant Boks.


Another Scot was chosen to lead the 1966 tourists, lock Mike Campbell-Lamerton.

The historic dominance over Australia continued as a narrow 11-8 win in Sydney was followed by an impressive 31-0 victory in Brisbane.

A rude awakening came in New Zealand, where the tourists suffered several defeats in the provincial games.

After playing fast, open rugby in Australia, the Lions went into their shells under the New Zealand onslaught.

Confidence was low going into the first Test in Dunedin and the All Blacks duly claimed a 20-3 triumph.

An improved performance from the Lions in Wellington saw them narrow the losing gap to 16-12, but the tourists were running away with the series.

Comfortable New Zealand victories followed - 19-6 in Christchurch and 24-11 in Auckland.

This meant the Lions had lost all four Tests against the All Blacks for the first time.

At the end of their long tour of 35 matches they remained popular visitors, despite some of the violent play that marred the trip. At one stage the Governor General of New Zealand was asked to mediate between the two captains!

This helped to set the tone for the uncompromising expeditions from the isles in 1971 and 1974.

On the way home, the Lions lost a match against British Columbia, but a measure of pride was restored with a 19-8 win over Canada in Toronto.


Ireland's full-back Tom Kiernan led the Lions and claimed the notable distinction of scoring all the Lions' Test points save for just one try, giving him a total haul of 35.

Welsh prop John O'Shea went into the record books for a less notable achievement as he became the first Lions player to be sent off for foul play (England's David Dobson had been sent off in Australia in 1904 when he mouthed an obscenity at the referee).

This happened against Eastern Transvaal when O'Shea threw a punch after a general warning.

The Welshman was pelted with missiles from the crowd as he left the pitch before being hit by one spectator.

This resulted in a huge fight, ending with the pugilistic fan being arrested after taking an enormous blow from Willie John McBride.

The tourists rattled off six wins in their opening provincial games, giving them a great confidence to take into the first Test at Pretoria.

The Springboks were ready for them, though, and gave the Lions a rugby lesson in a 25-20 win.

The tourists recovered from the beating to record a 6-6 draw in Port Elizabeth but, in Cape Town, South Africa scored the only try of the game to seal the series with an 11-6 victory.

The Boks were in devastating form for the final Test at Ellis Park and claimed a comfortable 19-6 win.

Some measure of consolation was provided for the Lions in their impressive record in the provincial games where they claimed 15 wins in 16 matches.


1960s Lions: Squads and results
18 May 05 |  Lions in NZ

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