1977 British Lions tour to New Zealand

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1977 British Lions Tour to New Zealand
Date 18 May  – 16 August
Coach(es) John Dawes
Tour captain(s) Wales Phil Bennett
Test series winners  New Zealand (3–1)
Top test point scorer(s) Wales Phil Bennett (18)

In 1977 the British Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand. The Lions played 26 matches, including four internationals against the All Blacks. They lost the series against the All Blacks by three matches to one. The team played as the British Isles in their internationals against the All Blacks and the British Lions for the non-international games. One game was also played at Buckhurst Park, Suva, against Fiji.

The Lions tourists left London on 10 May 1977 and returned on 19 August. Of their 26 matches on tour, they won 21 and lost 5. Although the Lions lost the test series against the All Blacks they were level 1–1 after the second international and came close to drawing the series; they led 9–6 going into injury time in the fourth test only to concede a match-winning try scored by Lawrie Knight.

Outside the test series, the Lions beat all their New Zealand provincial opponents as well as the NZ Maori and NZ Juniors representative teams, losing only to the New Zealand Universities team four days before the first international – this was the first defeat for a Lions team since the 1971 tourists lost the second test to the All Blacks on the same Christchurch ground and ended an unbeaten run of thirty-nine matches for the Lions. It was during the Junior All Blacks game that the famous 'Mudman' image of Fran Cotton, waiting for the ball at a line-out while caked head-to-toe in mud, was taken. Captured by Colorsport's Colin Elsey, it become one of the iconic images of rugby union, and in 2009 was named the 5th greatest sporting photo of all time.[1]

On their way home, in August 1977, the Lions stopped off to play the Fijian national team for the first time and suffered their fifth defeat of the tour. Fiji beat them 25–21.

A team selected from the 1977 British Lions touring party played one further match, against the Barbarians at Twickenham Stadium on 10 September 1977, to mark the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II. The Lions won by 23 points to 14 in front of a capacity crowd, having led 15–0 at half-time.[2]

Squad[edit]

The touring party as originally announced contained 17 players from Wales (including the as-yet uncapped Elgan Rees and Brynmor Williams), 5 from England, 5 from Scotland and 3 from Ireland. Geoff Wheel had to withdraw on medical advice before the touring party left and was replaced by Moss Keane. Roger Uttley aggravated a back injury at the get-together prior to leaving and was subsequently replaced by Jeff Squire. Bill Beaumont, Charlie Faulkner and Alun Lewis joined the tour party later in New Zealand as replacements – Lewis never played international rugby for Wales or the Lions.

Management[edit]

Backs[edit]

Forwards[edit]

1 Elgan Rees, Brynmor Williams and Alun Lewis were uncapped at the time of the 1977 tour; Rees and Williams were subsequently capped by Wales.

Results[edit]

Date Opponent Location Result Score
18 May Wairarapa-Bush Masterton Won 41–13
21 May Hawke's Bay Napier Won 13–11
25 May Poverty Bay-East Coast Gisborne Won 25–6
28 May Taranaki New Plymouth Won 21–13
1 June King Country-Wanganui Taumarunui Won 60–9
4 June Manawatu-Horowhenua Palmerston North Won 18–12
8 June Otago Carisbrook, Dunedin Won 12–7
11 June Southland Rugby Park, Invercargill Won 20–12
14 June New Zealand Universities Lancaster Park, Christchurch Lost 9–21
18 June New Zealand Athletic Park, Wellington Lost 12–16
22 June Hanan Shield Districts Rugby Park, Timaru Won 45–6
25 June Canterbury Lancaster Park, Christchurch Won 14–13
29 June West Coast-Buller Westport Won 45–0
2 July Wellington Athletic Park, Wellington Won 13–6
5 July Marlborough-Nelson Bays Blenheim Won 40–23
9 July New Zealand Lancaster Park, Christchurch Won 13–9
13 July New Zealand Maoris Eden Park, Auckland Won 22–19
16 July Waikato Rugby Park, Hamilton Won 18–13
20 July New Zealand Juniors Athletic Park, Wellington Won 19–9
23 July Auckland Eden Park, Auckland Won 34–15
30 July New Zealand Carisbrook, Dunedin Lost 7–19
3 August Counties-Thames Valley Pukekohe Won 35–10
6 August North Auckland Okara Park, Whangarei Won 18–7
9 August Bay of Plenty Rotorua Won 23–16
13 August New Zealand Eden Park, Auckland Lost 9–10
16 August Fiji Buckhurst Park, Suva Lost 21–25

The matches[edit]

First Test[edit]

18 June 1977
 New Zealand 16–12 British Isles
Try: Going
Johnstone
Batty
Con:
Williams (2)
Pen: Bennett (3)
Irvine
Athletic Park, Wellington
Attendance: 43,000
Referee: P. McDavitt New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND; Colin Farrell, Bryan Williams, Bruce Robertson, Bill Osborne, Grant Batty, Duncan Robertson, Sid Going, Brad Johnstone, Tane Norton (c), Kent Lambert, Andy Haden, Frank Oliver, Kevin Eveleigh, Ian Kirkpatrick, Lawrie Knight

LIONS; Irvine, Squires, Fenwick, McGeechan, J. J. Williams, Bennett (c), B. Williams, Orr, Windsor, Price, Martin, Keane, Cobner, T. Evans, Duggan

Second Test[edit]

9 July 1977
 New Zealand 9–13 British Isles
Pen: Williams (3) Try: J. J. Williams
Pen: Bennett (3)
Lancaster Park, Christchurch
Attendance: 50,000
Referee: B. Duffy New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND; Colin Farrell, Bryan Williams, Bill Osborne, Lyn Jaffray, Mark Taylor, Doug Bruce, Sid Going, Brad Johnstone, Tane Norton (c), Billy Bush, Andy Haden, Frank Oliver, Kevin Eveleigh, Ian Kirkpatrick, Lawrie Knight

LIONS; Irvine, J. J. Williams, Fenwick, McGeechan, G. Evans, Bennett (c), B. Williams, Cotton, Wheeler, Price, Beaumont, Brown, Cobner, Quinnell, Duggan

Third Test[edit]

30 July 1977
 New Zealand 19–7 British Isles
Try: Kirkpatrick
Haden
Con: Wilson
Pen: Wilson (2)
Drop: Robertson
Try: Duggan
Pen: Irvine
Carisbrook, Dunedin
Attendance: 34,000
Referee: D. Millar New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND; Bevan Wilson, Bryan Williams, Bruce Robertson, Bill Osborne, Brian Ford, Doug Bruce, Lyn Davis, John McEldowney, Tane Norton (c), Billy Bush, Andy Haden, Frank Oliver, Graham Mourie, Ian Kirkpatrick, Lawrie Knight

LIONS; Irvine, J. J. Williams (rep McGeechan), Burcher, Fenwick, G. Evans, Bennett (c), B. Williams (rep Morgan), Cotton, Wheeler, Price, Beaumont, Brown, Cobner, Quinnell, Duggan

Fourth Test[edit]

13 August 1977
 New Zealand 10–9 British Isles
Try: Knight
Pen: Wilson (2)
Try: Morgan
Con: Morgan
Pen: Morgan
Eden Park, Auckland
Attendance: 58,000
Referee: D. Millar New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND; Bevan Wilson, Bryan Williams, Bruce Robertson, Bill Osborne, Brian Ford (rep Mark Taylor), Doug Bruce, Lyn Davis, John McEldowney (rep Billy Bush), Tane Norton (c), Kent Lambert, Andy Haden, Frank Oliver, Graham Mourie, Ian Kirkpatrick, Lawrie Knight

LIONS; Irvine, Rees, Fenwick, McGeechan, G. Evans, Bennett (c), Morgan, Cotton, Wheeler, Price, Beaumont, Brown, Neary, Squire, Duggan

vs Fiji[edit]

16 August 1977
 Fiji 25–21 British Isles
Try: Narisia (2)
Rauto
Kaunikoro
Racika
Con: Rauto
Drop: Tikoisuva
Try: Bennett
Beaumont
Burcher
Con: Bennett (3)
Pen: Bennett
Buckhurst Park, Suva
Attendance: 20,000
Referee: S Koroi Fiji

FIJI; Kemueli Musunamasi, Joape Kaunikoro, Senitiki Nasave, Qele Ratu, Wame Gavidi, Pio Bosco Tikoisuva (c), Samisoni Viriviri, Josefa Rauto, Atonio Racika, Nimilote Ratudina, Ilaitia Tuisese, Ilisoni Taoba, Rupeni Qaraniqio, Vuata Narisia, Viliame Ratudradra

LIONS; Irvine, G. Evans, McGeechan, Burcher, Bennett (c), Bevan, Lewis, Faulkner, Windsor, Price, Beaumont, Martin, Neary, T. Evans (rep Brown), Squire

Bibliography[edit]

  • Thomas, Clem; Thomas, Greg (2005). The History of The British and Irish Lions. Mainstream Books. pp. pp175–183. ISBN 1-84596-030-0. 
  • Hopkins, John (1977). Life with the Lions – The Inside Story of the 1977 New Zealand Tour. Stanley Paul & Co Ltd. ISBN 0-09-131740-1. 
  • Vivian Jenkins (ed.). Rothmans Rugby Yearbook 1978–79. Macdonald and Jane's. pp. pp18–31. ISBN 0-354-09047-X. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Daily Mail's List of 50 Greatest Sporting Photos
  2. ^ (Rothmans, Jenkins ed.pp140-141)

External links[edit]