1955 British Lions tour to South Africa

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1955 British Lions tour to South Africa
Date22 June  – 27 September
Coach(es)Jack Siggins
Tour captain(s)Ireland Robin Thompson
Test series winnersTied (2–2)
Top test point scorer(s)England Jeff Butterfield (12)
1955 British Lions tour to South Africa
25 19 01 05
Test match
04 02 00 02
 South Africa
4 2 0 2

In 1955 the British Lions rugby union team toured Southern and Eastern Africa. The Lions drew the test series against South Africa, each team winning two of the four matches. They won the first test by a single point and the third by three points and lost the second and fourth matches by wider margins. As well as South Africa, the tour included a match against South West Africa (later to become Namibia), two games against Rhodesia (later to become Zimbabwe) and one versus East Africa.

Overall the tourists played twenty-five matches winning nineteen, losing five and drawing one. The Lions lost their opening fixture against Western Transvaal and were also beaten by Eastern Province and Border later in the tour. They drew with Eastern Transvaal.

It was the Lions' second tour after World War II and the first to South Africa after that war.

The touring party was captained by Robin Thompson of Ireland. The manager was Jack A. E. Siggins and the assistant manager was D. E. Davies.

Jack Siggins had the honour of being invited, by the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA), officially to open the newly constructed RFUEA Ground at Ngong Road in Nairobi just prior to the Lions last match of that tour against East Africa.





1 Dickie Jeeps later played for England but was uncapped at the time of the 1955 tour.

The Idi Amin myth[edit]

There is a frequently repeated urban legend[1][2] that Idi Amin (later to become the infamous military dictator of Uganda) was selected as a replacement by East Africa for their match against the 1955 British Lions. The story is entirely unfounded, he does not appear on the team photograph or on the official team list[3] and replacements were not allowed in international rugby until 13 years after this event is supposed to have taken place.[4]


Scores and results list Lions' points tally first.

Opposing Team For Against Date Venue Status
Western Transvaal 6 9 22 June 1955 Olen Park, Potchefstroom Tour match
Giqualand West 24 14 25 June 1955 De Beers Stadium, Kimberley Tour match
Northern Universities 32 6 29 June 1955 Ellis Park, Johannesburg Tour match
Orange Free State 31 3 2 July 1955 Loubser Park, Kroonstad Tour match
South West Africa 9 0 5 July 1955 Mable Volk Stadium, Windhoek Tour match
Western Province 11 3 9 July 1955 Newlands, Cape Town Tour match
South West Districts 22 3 13 July 1955 Recreation Ground, George Tour match
Eastern Province 0 20 16 July 1955 Crusaders Ground, Port Elizabeth Tour match
North Eastern district 34 6 20 July 1955 Aliwal North Tour match
Transvaal 36 13 23 July 1955 Ellis Park, Johannesburg Tour match
Rhodesia 27 14 27 July 1955 Rokhana Ground, Kitwe Tour match
Rhodesia 16 12 30 July 1955 Police Ground, Salisbury Tour match
South Africa 23 22 6 August 1955 Ellis Park, Johannesburg Test Match
Central University 21 14 10 August 1955 Kingsmead, Durban Tour match
Boland 11 0 13 August 1955 Wellington Tour match
Western province Universities 20 17 16 August 1955 Newlands, Cape Town Tour match
South Africa 9 25 20 August 1955 Newlands, Cape Town Test Match
Eastern Transvaal 17 17 24 August 1955 PAM Brink, Springs Tour match
Northern Transvaal 14 11 27 August 1955 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria Tour match
South Africa 9 6 3 September 1955 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria Test Match
Natal 11 8 10 September 1955 Kingsmead, Durban Tour match
Junior Springboks 15 12 14 September 1955 Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein Tour match
Border 12 14 17 September 1955 East London Tour match
South Africa 8 22 24 September 1955 Crusaders Ground, Port Elizabeth Test Match
East Africa 39 12 27 September 1955 Ngong Road Ground, Nairobi Tour match


  • Thomas, Clem; Thomas, Greg (2001). The History of The British and Irish Lions. Mainstream Books. pp. 100–117. ISBN 1-84018-498-1.


  1. ^ Cain, Nick & Growden, Greg "Chapter 21: Ten Peculiar Facts about Rugby" in Rugby Union for Dummies (2nd Edition), p294 (pub: John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, England) ISBN 978-0-470-03537-5
  2. ^ Cotton, Fran (Ed.) (1984) The Book of Rugby Disasters & Bizarre Records. Compiled by Chris Rhys. London. Century Publishing. ISBN 0-7126-0911-3
  3. ^ Campbell, M. & Cohen, E.J. (1960) Rugby Football in East Africa 1909–1959. Published by the Rugby Football Union of East Africa
  4. ^ "History of the Laws of Rugby Football - Replacements/substitutions". www.rugbyfootballhistory.com.