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British and Irish Lions Tours to remember

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/05/2017

Press Association Sport selects three classic tours to live long in Lions memory.


Still the only Lions to win a Test series in New Zealand, coach Carwyn James forged arguably the tourists' greatest-ever outfit. Welshman James had never coached his national side, but his innovation proved the backbone of a dogged 2-1 Test series victory. John Dawes became the gritty captain to spearhead the Test assault, surrounded on all sides by a host of Welsh wizards. Barry John posted a record 188 points in a single tour, while Gareth Edwards, Gerald Davies, JPR Williams and more combined in devastating fashion to stun the favourites and hosts.


The Invincibles won 21 of 22 matches, only drawing the fourth Test with the series already in the bag. The '99' call will forever remain bludgeoned into rugby folklore as the Lions' collective response to rough housing home tactics. Refusing to be intimidated, captain Willie John McBride devised the call of '99', upon which all Lions players would flood into retaliation en masse. The ruse worked, with the Lions progressing to win every provincial clash while taking the Test series 3-0.


The fly-on-the-wall 'Living with the Lions' documentary has imprinted the 1997 tour into a generation of rugby fans' subconscious. Not only did the Lions win a brutal Test series 2-1, with Jerry Guscott's drop-goal sealing the pivotal 18-15 victory in the second encounter, but the tourists' video diaries lifted the lid on a glorious last hurrah for and long goodbye to rugby union's amateur era. Taskmaster coach Jim Telfer's 'Everest' speech has been riffed too many times to avoid hackneyed status now - but hear the original, and wait for the goosebumps to rise. The blueprint - attainable or otherwise - for modern-era Lions success.

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