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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 May, 2005, 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
History of the Lions: New Zealand 1977
By Sean Davies
BBC Sport

The 1971 captain John Dawes was chosen as coach for the 1977 trip to New Zealand, and to captain his team he chose fellow Welshman Phil Bennett.

SQUAD AND STATISTICS
The desire to continue in the traditions of '71 and '74 was obvious and the party was again based on the dominant Welsh team of the day - in fact most agreed that too many Welsh were chosen.

Perhaps crucially in a tight series, though, the great scrum-half Gareth Edwards chose not to tour.

With Bennett struggling for form at fly-half, the backs lacked incisiveness all tour and tended to drag across field, negating much good work from the impressive forwards.

The tourists and their management were also criticised for an insular attitude, retreating into their shell after some shabby treatment from the New Zealand press.

One of the worst winters on record with constant rain also did them few favours and contributed to the gloom that followed the trip.

On the morning of the third Test in Dunedin a helicopter landed on the pitch in an attempt to dry it out!

The All Blacks tore into the Lions in the first Test in Wellington, emerging victorious by 16-12 in an uncompromising encounter.

This stung the tourists into making six changes, including calling up England lock Bill Beaumont for his first Lions cap.

A fantastic JJ Williams try helped the Lions to a series-levelling 13-9 success in Christchurch.

Reverting to their strength, New Zealand took the Lions on up front in Dunedin and were rewarded as three tries for their forwards saw them to a 19-7 win.

Atrocious weather characterised the 1977 Lions tour
Atrocious weather characterised the 1977 Lions tour
It looked like the end for the Lions who went into the fourth Test in Auckland with major injury worries.

The newly called-up scrum-half Doug Morgan gave an accomplished performance, though, and it seemed like a drawn series was on the cards.

But the All Blacks were able to hold on against a late Lions surge and emerged with a 10-9 win to clinch a 3-1 series triumph.

The overall record of the Lions was not that bad, but they suffered in comparison to the previous two tours.

On the way home in Suva, the Lions fell to a 25-21 defeat in a non-cap match with Fiji.




LIONS HISTORY
 

SEE ALSO
1977 Lions: Squad and results
18 May 05 |  Lions in NZ


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