1974 British Lions tour to South Africa

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1974 British Lions Tour to South Africa
Date 15 May  – 27 July
Coach(es) Syd Millar
Tour captain(s) Ireland Willie John McBride
Test series winners British and Irish Lions (3–0)
Top test point scorer(s) Wales Phil Bennett (26)

In 1974 the British Lions toured South Africa, with matches in South West Africa and Rhodesia (which would become Namibia and Zimbabwe respectively). The tour was a great success, the Lions winning 21 of their 22 matches and drawing the other. After winning the first three test matches, the Lions drew the final test when the South African referee blew the final whistle four minutes early with the Lions two metres from the South African try line, thus preserving their unbeaten record, but denying them a tour whitewash.

The test series was beset by violence. The management of the Lions unilaterally declared that in their opinion the Springboks dominated their opponents with physical aggression because of their famous size advantage, 'off the ball' and 'blind side' play. In the build up games, and in McBride's previous tours of South Africa, provincial sides had tended to use their physical size, late tackling and dirty play to deliberately intimidate and injure Lions players prior to Test matches. McBride again saw this tactic of targeting certain players being used by the provinces in '74, and decided that the '99 call' (originally the '999 call' but it was too slow to shout out) was meant to show that the Lions were a team and would not take any more of the violence being meted out to them. It was a harsh response to what the team were facing, but intended to show that the Lions would act as one and fight unsporting behaviour with more of the same. The idea was that the referee would be unlikely to send off all of the Lions if they all attacked. At the 'Battle of Boet Erasmus Stadium', in Port Elizabeth, one of the most violent matches in rugby history, there is famous video footage of JPR Williams running over half of the pitch and launching himself at Moaner van Heerden after such a call. Although an extreme response, the 99 call was only used once (according to McBride), as it sent out the message that the Lions were willing and more than able to respond in kind and protect themselves.

Squad[edit]

Management[edit]

Backline[edit]

Fullbacks:

Wings:

Centres:

Flyhalves:

Scrumhalves:

Forwards[edit]

Hookers

Props

Locks

Loose Forwards

Results[edit]

Date Opponent Location Result Score
Match 1 15 May Western Transvaal Potchefstroom Won 59–13
Match 2 18 May South West Africa Windhoek Won 23–16
Match 3 22 May Boland Wellington Won 23–6
Match 4 25 May Eastern Province Port Elizabeth Won 28–14
Match 5 29 May South West Districts Mossel Bay Won 97–0
Match 6 1 June Western Province Cape Town Won 17–8
Match 7 4 June SA Federation XV (Proteas) Goodwood, Cape Town Won 37–6
Match 8 8 June SOUTH AFRICA Cape Town Won 12–3
Match 9 11 June Southern Universities Cape Town Won 26–4
Match 10 15 June Transvaal Johannesburg Won 23–15
Match 11 18 June Rhodesia Salisbury Won 42–6
Match 12 22 June SOUTH AFRICA Pretoria Won 28–9
Match 13 27 June Quaggas Johannesburg Won 20–16
Match 14 29 June Orange Free State Bloemfontein Won 11–9
Match 15 3 July Griqualand West Kimberley Won 69–16
Match 16 6 July Northern Transvaal Pretoria Won 16–12
Match 17 9 July SA Africans (Leopards) East London Won 56–10
Match 18 13 July SOUTH AFRICA Port Elizabeth Won 26–9
Match 19 17 July Border East London Won 26–6
Match 20 20 July Natal Durban Won 34–6
Match 21 23 July Eastern Transvaal Springs Won 33–10
Match 22 27 July SOUTH AFRICA Johannesburg Draw 13–13

The matches[edit]

First Test[edit]

8 June 1974
 South Africa 3–12 British Lions
Drop: Snyman Pen: Bennett (3)
Drop: Edwards

Referee: M Baise South Africa

South Africa: Ian McCallum, Chris Pope, Johan Oosthuizen, Peter Whipp, Gert Muller, Dawie Snyman, Roy McCallum, Morne du Plessis, Jan Ellis, Jan Boland Coetzee, John Williams, Kevin de Klerk, Hannes Marais (c), Piston van Wyk, Sakkie Sauerman

Lions: JPR Williams, Steele, Milliken, McGeechan, JJ Williams, Bennett, Edwards, Davies, Uttley, Slattery, Brown, McBride (c), Cotton, Windsor, McLauchlan

Second Test[edit]

22 June 1974
 South Africa 9–28 British Lions
Pen: Bosch (2)
Drop: Bosch
Try: J.J. Williams (2)
Bennett
Brown
Milliken
Con: Bennett
Pen: Bennett
Drop: Ian McGeechan

Attendance: 63,000
Referee: C de Bruyn South Africa

South Africa: Ian McCallum (replaced Snyman, replaced Vogel), Chris Pope, Jackie Snyman, Peter Whipp, Gerrie Germishuys, Gerald Bosch, Paul Bayvel, Dugald MacDonald, Jan Ellis, Morne du Plessis, John Williams, Kevin de Klerk, Hannes Marais (c), Dave Frederickson, Nic Bezuidenhoudt

Lions: JPR Williams, Steele, Milliken, McGeechan, JJ Williams, Bennett, Edwards, Davies, Uttley, Slattery, Brown, McBride (c), Cotton, Windsor, McLauchlan

Third Test[edit]

13 June 1974
 South Africa 9–26 British Lions
Pen: Snyman Try: Brown
J.J. Williams (2)
Con: Irvine
Pen: Irvine (2)
Drop:Bennett (2)

Attendance: 55,000
Referee: C de Bruyn South Africa

South Africa: Tonie Roux, Chris Pope, Peter Cronje, Jan Schlebusch, Gert Muller, Jackie Snyman, Gerrie Sonnekus, Klippies Kritzinger, Jan Ellis, Polla Fourie, Johan de Bruyn, Moaner van Heerden (replaced by De Klerk), Hannes Marais (c), Piston van Wyk, Nic Bezuidenhoudt

Lions: JPR Williams, Irvine, Milliken, McGeechan, JJ Wiliams, Bennett, Edwards, Davies, Uttley, Slattery, Brown, McBride (c), Cotton, Windsor, McLauchlan

Fourth Test[edit]

27 July 1974
 South Africa 13–13 British Lions
Try: Cronje
Pen:Snyman (3)
Try: Uttley
Irvine
Con Bennett
Pen: Irvine

Attendance: 75,000
Referee: M Baise South Africa

South Africa: Tonie Roux, Chris Pope, Peter Cronje, Jan Schlebusch, Gert Muller, Jackie Snyman, Paul Bayvel, Kleintjie Grobler, Jan Ellis, Klippies Kritzinger, John Williams, Moaner van Heerden, Hannes Marais (c), Piston van Wyk, Nic Bezuidenhoudt (replaced by Stander)

Lions: JPR Williams, Irvine, Milliken, McGeechan, JJ Williams, Bennett, Edwards, Davies, Uttley, Slattery, Ralston, McBride (c), Cotton, Windsor, McLauchlan

References[edit]

External links[edit]