1988 Great Britain Lions tour

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The 1988 Great Britain Lions tour was the Great Britain national rugby league team's 18th tour of Australasia and took place from May to July 1988. It started with a Test match against Papua New Guinea before the best-of-three series against Australia for the Ashes title, and finally a Test against New Zealand. Some of these matches counted toward the ongoing 1985–1988 World Cup tournament. An additional 13 matches were played against local club and representative sides from each host nation.


The tour took place after Britain's 1987–88 Rugby Football League season. A 16-man British press party - the largest ever - accompanied the team through Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.[1]

Touring squad[edit]

Mal Reilly was the British team's coach. His assistant coach was Phil Larder. The tour manager was Les Bettinson. The touring side's captain was Ellery Hanley, who was signed by Sydney club the Balmain Tigers to play the remaining rounds of the 1988 NSWRFL season once his representative commitments were fulfilled.[2] It was also announced during the tour that Kevin Ward would rejoin Manly-Warringah for the remainder of their season once the tour was completed.[3]

Des Drummond was left out of the touring squad after defending himself from a spectator who rushed onto the pitch shouting racial abuse during the British season.[4] Andy Currier had to be flown out during the Ashes to cover for the injured Garry Schofield.

Name Position Club Date of birth Home Nation Tests
Beardmore, KevinKevin Beardmore Forward Castleford colours.svg Castleford 1960 England 4
Case, BrianBrian Case Forward Wigancolours.svg Wigan England 2
Crooks, LeeLee Crooks Forward Hullcolours.svg Hull (1963-09-18)18 September 1963 England 0
Dixon, PaulPaul Dixon Forward Faxcolours.svg Halifax (1962-10-28)28 October 1962 England 3
Edwards, ShaunShaun Edwards Half Wigancolours.svg Wigan (1966-10-17)17 October 1966 England 1
Eyres, RichardRichard Eyres Forward Widnes colours.svg Widnes (1966-12-07)7 December 1966 England 0
Fairbank, KarlKarl Fairbank Forward Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern (1963-06-01)1 June 1963 England 0
Ford, PhilPhil Ford Back Bullscolours.svg Bradford Northern (1961-03-16)16 March 1961 Wales 5
Gibson, CarlCarl Gibson Three-quarter back Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds (1963-04-23)23 April 1963 England 0
Gill, HendersonHenderson Gill Wing Wigancolours.svg Wigan (1961-01-16)16 January 1961 England 4
Gregory, AndyAndy Gregory Half Wigancolours.svg Wigan (1961-08-10)10 August 1961 England 5
Gregory, MikeMike Gregory Forward Wolvescolours.svg Warrington (1964-05-20)20 May 1964 England 5
Groves, PaulPaul Groves Forward Saintscolours.svg St Helens (1965-05-27)27 May 1965 England 0
Haggerty, RoyRoy Haggerty Back Saintscolours.svg St Helens England 0
Hampson, SteveSteve Hampson Back Wigancolours.svg Wigan (1961-08-14)14 August 1961 England 0
Hanley, ElleryEllery Hanley (c) Utility Wigancolours.svg Wigan (1961-03-27)27 March 1961 England 5
Hulme, DavidDavid Hulme Half Widnes colours.svg Widnes (1964-02-06)6 February 1964 England 5
Hulme, PaulPaul Hulme Forward Widnes colours.svg Widnes (1966-04-19)19 April 1966 England 3
Loughlin, PaulPaul Loughlin Back Saintscolours.svg St Helens (1966-07-28)28 July 1966 England 5
Lydon, JoeJoe Lydon Back Wigancolours.svg Wigan (1963-11-26)26 November 1963 England 0
Medley, PaulPaul Medley Forward Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds (1966-09-21)21 September 1966 England 1
Offiah, MartinMartin Offiah Wing Widnes colours.svg Widnes (1966-12-29)29 December 1966 England 4
Powell, RoyRoy Powell Forward Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds (1965-04-30)30 April 1965 England 4
Platt, AndyAndy Platt Forward Saintscolours.svg St Helens (1963-10-09)9 October 1963 England 2
Schofield, GarryGarry Schofield Back Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds (1965-07-01)1 July 1965 England 2
Stephenson, DavidDavid Stephenson Back Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds England 4
Waddell, HughHugh Waddell Forward Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham (1958-11-13)13 November 1958 England 2
Ward, KevinKevin Ward Forward Castleford colours.svg Castleford (1957-08-05)5 August 1957 England 5
Wilkinson, IanIan Wilkinson Back Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds (1960-12-03)3 December 1960 England 0
Wright, DarrenDarren Wright Back Widnes colours.svg Widnes (1968-01-17)17 January 1968 England 2

Papua New Guinea[edit]

The Lions played only two games in Papua New Guinea, winning both of them.

Sunday, 22 May
Papua New Guinea  22 – 42  Great Britain
3 Tries:
Dairi Kovae (2)
Arnold Krewanty
Isaac Rop

3 Goals:
Bal Numapo
[1] 7 Tries:
Henderson Gill (2)
Garry Schofield (2)
Mike Gregory
Paul Medley
David Stephenson
7 Goals:
Paul Loughlin
Lloyd Robson Oval, Port Moresby
Attendance: 12,107[5]
Referee/s: Greg McCallum Australia
Papua New Guinea Pos. Great Britain
Dairi Kovae FB Paul Loughlin
Kepi Saea WG Phil Ford
Mea Morea CE Garry Schofield
Bal Numapo (c) CE David Stephenson
Arnold Krewanty WG Henderson Gill
Darius Haili SO Shaun Edwards
Tony Kila SH Andy Gregory
Isaac Rop PR Kevin Ward
Michael Matmillo HK Kevin Beardmore
Yer Bom PR Brian Case
Mathias Kombra SR Paul Medley
Tuiyo Evei SR Mike Gregory
Haoda Kouoru LF Ellery Hanley (c)
Thomas Rombuk Res. David Hulme
Ngala Lapan Res. Paul Dixon
Barry Wilson Coach Mal Reilly

The result of this match counted towards the 1985–1988 World Cup tournament, the final of which was to be played later in the year. The first Test of the tour was played in 38 degree heat with fans clustered in trees and clinging to lights around the ground.[6] 21-year-old Shaun Edwards, the youngest member of the touring party, damaged his knee after six minutes of the match and it was feared that he would miss the rest of the tour.[7] By half time Great Britain were leading 28–6. Garry Schofield scored his 17th try in 18 Test matches for Great Britain, and captain Ellery Hanley made three try-saving tackles.[8]

After the match Edwards was flown to Sydney to undergo surgery on his knee's cartilage due to the injury he sustained while playing in this match.[7]

Tuesday, 24 May
Highland Division 18 – 36 Great Britain
3 Tries:
Kool (2)

3 Goals:
[2] 7 Tries:
Martin Offiah (3)
Phil Ford (2)
Garry Schofield
6 Goals:
Lee Crooks (5)
Garry Schofield
Lae Oval
Attendance: 3,270
Referee/s: Graham Aunui
Man of the Match: Hugh Waddell[9]


The Australian leg of the tour took place in the midst of the 1988 NSWRFL season as well as the 1988 State of Origin series. In 1988 Australia was also celebrating its national bicentenary.[10] The tour's itinerary, which involved short periods between matches, making it tough for the visitors, was designed by the Australian Rugby League but agreed to by the British.[11]

The Ashes series attracted just 67,554 to the three tests, with the dead rubber third game attracting just 15,944 to the Sydney Football Stadium. The second Ashes test against Australia at Lang Park in Brisbane drew the tours highest attendance of 27,130. The total Ashes series attendance was 7,926 less than had attended the 1984 series played in Australia and was 34,006 less than the record breaking series played in England during the 1986 Kangaroo Tour. It was also easily the lowest ever attended Ashes series played in Australia.

Friday, 27 May
North Queensland 16 – 66 Great Britain
Filosi (2), House
Worth (1)
Conlan (1)
[3] Tries:
Martin Offiah (4), Mike Ford (3), Phil Ford (2), Paul Medley (2), Paul Dixon
David Stephenson (8)
Phil Ford (1)
Barlow Park, Cairns
Attendance: 5,500
Referee/s: Barry Gomersall

North Queensland: Namok, Gagai, Taylor, Turia, Curry, Worth, Filosi, Colwell, Bax, McAskill, House, Dalley, Greenwood. Res - Ernest, Conlan

Great Britain: Phil Ford, Paul Medley, Carl Gibson, David Stephenson, Martin Offiah, David Hulme, Mike Ford, Brian Case, Paul Groves, Roy Powell, Karl Fairbank, Paul Dixon, Andy Platt (c). Res - Roy Haggerty

Tuesday, 31 May
Newcastle Knights 12 – 28 Great Britain
Brett Shore, Tony Kemp, Glenn Miller
[4] Tries:
Martin Offiah (2), Ellery Hanley (2), Kevin Ward
Paul Loughlin (4)
Newcastle International Sports Centre, Newcastle
Attendance: 8,970[12]
Referee/s: Greg McCallum

Newcastle: Glenn Frendo, Troy Clarke, Jeff Doyle, Tony Kemp, Glenn Miller, Robbie McCormack, Steve Fulmer, Brett Shore, Tony Townsend, David Thorne, Michael McKeirnan, Sam Stewart (c), Mark Glanville. Res - Steve Walters, Scott Carter. Coach - Allan McMahon

Great Britain: Paul Loughlin, Henderson Gill, Carl Gibson, Darren Wright, Martin Offiah, Ellery Hanley (c), Andy Gregory, Kevin Ward, Kevin Beardmore, Hugh Waddell, Mike Gregory, Paul Dixon, Andy Platt

Sunday, 5 June
Northern Division 36 – 12 Great Britain
Ewan McGrady (2), Chris Cumming, B. Plater, M. Manes
M. Spinks (8)
[5] Tries:
Henderson Gill, Garry Schofield
Paul Loughlin (2)
Scully Park, Tamworth
Attendance: 4,000[13]
Referee/s: Barry Priest

Northern Division: Spinks, Plater, Gardner, Matthew Ryan, French, Rocky Laurie (c), Ewan McGrady, McCann, Masters, Cotter, Cumming, Lavender, Maynes. Res - McCormack, Briggs

Great Britain: Paul Loughlin, Phil Ford, Garry Schofield (c), David Stephenson, Henderson Gill, David Hulme, Mike Ford, Brian Case, Paul Groves, Lee Crooks, Roy Powell, Paul Medley, Roy Haggerty. Res - Karl Fairbank

The country side, captained by former NSW, South Sydney and Eastern Suburbs five-eighth Rocky Laurie, gave the tourists their first defeat. Also playing for Northern Division was future NSWRL Rothmans Medal winner, Moree Boomerangs Halfback Ewan McGrady who crossed for two tries and future Canterbury-Bankstown premiership winning centre Matthew Ryan. The game became known as "Black Sunday" for the Lions. According to media reports, after the game Mal Reilly locked the team in the dressing room and upbraided them for 20 minutes before the media were allowed in.[14]

Tuesday, 7 June
Manly-Warringah 30 – 0 Great Britain
Ian Gately, Mark Pocock, Geoff Toovey, Charlie Haggett, Cliff Lyons
Tim Dwyer (5)
[6] Tries:
Brookvale Oval, Sydney
Attendance: 21,131[15]
Referee/s: Francis Desplas France
Man of the Match: Geoff Toovey

Manly-Warringah: Tim Dwyer, Stuart Davis, Joe Ropati, Darrell Williams, Greg Austin, Cliff Lyons, Geoff Toovey, Ian Gately, Charlie Haggett, Mark Brokenshire, Mark Pocock, Noel Cleal (c), Des Hasler. Res - Paul Shaw, Glenn Ryan. Coach - Bob Fulton

Great Britain: Phil Ford, Carl Gibson, Ian Wilkinson, Darren Wright, Martin Offiah, David Stephenson, David Hulme, Hugh Waddell, Paul Groves, Roy Powell, Karl Fairbank, Paul Medley, Andy Platt (c). Res - Roy Haggerty, Lee Crooks

Although facing the Lions mid-week side which included test players Andy Platt, Martin Offiah, Phil Ford, Carl Gibson, David Hulme and Roy Powell, Manly went into the game missing regular first grade players Paul Vautin, Michael O'Connor, Phil Daley (Australian test players rested before the first test four days later), Dale Shearer, David Ronson and Mal Cochrane. In the absence of Vautin, the defending Winfield Cup premiers were captained by 1986 Kangaroo Tourist and 10 test veteran Noel Cleal who had a point to prove after being a shock omission from the Australian and NSW sides (the Lions camp was reportedly dumbfounded at Cleal's non-selection). In front of a vocal Brookvale Oval crowd of 21,131, the third largest attendance of the tour, including tests, the makeshift Sea Eagles side put the tourists to the sword, running out five tries to nil winners. Manly's teenage halfback Geoff Toovey (in only his third game of top grade football) capped a man-of-the-match performance scoring one of his sides tries. The match saw the first time that former test rivals and team mates in Manly's 1972 and 1973 premierships Bob Fulton (Manly) and Mal Reilly (Great Britain) would coach against each other.

For the Lions, their captain on the night Andy Platt was far and away their best player with the rest showing little form heading into the first test just 4 days later. After Cliff Lyons crossed for Manly's 5th try in just 60th minute, the game descended into a scrappy contest as fatigue and high frustrations for the Lions resulted in Mark Brokenshire (Manly) and Roy Haggerty (GB) each getting 10 minutes in the sin-bin for foul play. For Manly, Toovey, Lyons, Cleal and Des Hasler (playing at lock) led the way for the 30–0 win.[16]

The game was refereed by Frenchman Francis Desplas who would be the referee for all three tests of the Ashes series. Although not playing the game, Mal Reilly allowed Lions prop forward Kevin Ward who had played in Manly's 1987 Grand Final winning team, to take the toss of the coin in front of his 'home' fans despite Andy Platt captaining the side.

1st Ashes Test[edit]

The Ashes series was styled the 'Winfield Test series' due to sponsorship from Winfield cigarettes. The first game was the 100th rugby league test between the two sides. Andrew Ettingshausen, Peter Jackson, Tony Currie, Sam Backo and Phil Daley were selected to make their Test match debuts for Australia.[17] The absence of several of Great Britain's Test stars meant that several members of their team were playing out of position.[18]

Following heavy losses to Northern Division and Manly-Warringah in their two games immediately prior to the first test, one unnamed ARL official allegedly remarked that trying to promote a test series with the Great Britain side was like trying to flog a dead horse. Indeed, this was reflected when only 24,480 attended the first test at the Sydney Football Stadium, with the dead rubber third test at the venue only attracting 15,944 fans, the lowest ever test attendance between the two teams in Sydney.

Saturday, 11 June
Australia  17 – 6  Great Britain
Peter Jackson (2)
Sam Backo
Michael O'Connor (2/5)
Field goal:
Wally Lewis
[7] Try:
Ellery Hanley

Paul Loughlin (1/5)
Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 24,480
Referee/s: Francois Desplas France
Man of the Match: Kevin Ward Great Britain colours.svg
Australia Pos. Great Britain
Garry Jack FB Paul Loughlin
Andrew Ettingshausen WG Phil Ford
Michael O'Connor CE Garry Schofield
Peter Jackson CE David Stephenson
Tony Currie WG Martin Offiah
Wally Lewis (c) SO David Hulme
Peter Sterling SH Andy Gregory
Phil Daley PR Andy Platt
Greg Conescu HK Kevin Beardmore
Sam Backo PR Kevin Ward
Wally Fullerton-Smith SR Paul Dixon
Paul Vautin SR Mike Gregory
Bob Lindner LF Ellery Hanley (c)
Gary Belcher Res. Henderson Gill
Steve Folkes Res. Roy Powell
Don Furner Coach Mal Reilly

Following a high tackle on British hooker Kevin Beardmore by Australian front rower Phil Daley, Great Britain put the first points on the board with Paul Loughlin's penalty kick from 40 metres out.[19] The first try also went to the visitors with Ellery Hanley beating several defenders to score in the corner. Great Britain looked the better team in the first half and were leading 6–0 at the break.[20]

After six minutes of the second-half Sam Backo ran on to a Peter Sterling pass to score Australia's first try, although there was doubt around the ball's grounding.[21] Peter Jackson scored two tries over 11 minutes to give Australia victory. In between these two tries Wally Lewis kicked a field goal.[19]

John MacDonald of the The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the tourists were not only competitive, but a little unlucky, and that the 17–6 score did not reflect how close they came to winning. He also leveled heavy criticism at the refereeing performance of Francois Desplas, who could not speak English.[22] As man-of-the-match, British forward Kevin Ward received $1,000.[22]

Great Britain's second-row forward Andy Platt received an injury to his left arm that was expected to see him sidelined for the next two weeks.[23]

Wednesday, 15 June
Combined Brisbane 14 – 28 Great Britain
Brett McCarthy, Kelly Egan, Gordon Barwick
Peter Coyne (1)
[8] Tries:
Martin Offiah (2), Garry Schofield, Karl Fairbank, Mike Ford
David Stephenson (4)
Lang Park, Brisbane
Attendance: 1,810

Combined Brisbane: Steve Hegarty, Kelly Egan, Brett McCarthy, Cherry, Gordon Barwick, Peter Coyne, Daunt, McIntyre, Holmes, Ponting, Glen Haggath, Ian Stains, Darren Smith. Res - Kevin Langer, White

Great Britain: Phil Ford, Henderson Gill, Garry Schofield, Carl Gibson, Ellery Hanley (c), Mike Ford, Brian Case, Paul Groves, Lee Crooks, Roy Powell, Karl Fairbank, Paul Dixon. Res - Martin Offiah, Hugh Waddell

In the 20th minute of the match British centre Garry Schofield was assisted from the field with a fractured jaw bone.[24]

Friday, 17 June
Central Queensland 8 – 64 Great Britain
Marshall Leisha
D Weinert (2)
[9] Tries:
Karl Fairbank (3), Martin Offiah (3), Ellery Hanley (2), Carl Gibson (2), Roy Powell
Paul Loughlin (10)
Browne Park, Rockhampton
Attendance: 4,418
Referee/s: L. Crane

Central Queensland: Crow, Miller, Peter White, Paul White, Hinricks, Iles, Upkett, Olsson, Emmert, Weinert, Leisha, Duff, Brazier.

Great Britain: Paul Loughlin, Carl Gibson, Ian Wilkinson, Darren Wright, Martin Offiah, Ellery Hanley (c), David Hulme, Kevin Ward, Kevin Beardmore, Hugh Waddell, Roy Powell, Karl Fairbank, Roy Haggerty. Res - Lee Crooks, Henderson Gill

British prop Lee Crooks injured his shoulder in this match putting him in doubt for the remainder of the Ashes series. Winning the scrums 11-2, Great Britain had a wealth of possession and exploited it ruthlessly. The Capras' only try came from Black Water Devils second-rower Marshall Leisha during the last ten minutes.[25]

Wednesday, 22 June
Toowoomba / S-E Queensland 12 – 28 Great Britain
Claney, Johnson
Dwyer (2)
[10] Tries:
Ellery Hanley (2), Mike Gregory (2), Phil Ford
Paul Loughlin (4)
Athletic Oval, Toowoomba
Attendance: 3,874
Referee/s: Tim Bliss

Toowoomba / S-E Queensland: Weribone, Clevin, Blake, Pratt, Stower, Clancy, Smith, Dwyer, M. Cook, Sutoon, Buckle, Johnson, Sullivan. Res - Terry Cook, Neale

Great Britain: Paul Loughlin, Henderson Gill, David Stephenson, Phil Ford, Martin Offiah, Ellery Hanley (c), David Hulme, Kevin Ward, Kevin Beardmore, Paul Dixon, Karl Fairbank, Roy Powell, Mike Gregory.

Saturday, 25 June
Wide Bay 0 – 14 Great Britain
[11] Tries:
Andy Currier, Martin Offiah, Mike Ford
Paul Loughlin (1)
Albert Park, Gympie
Attendance: 2,310
Referee/s: Russell Leis

Wide Bay: Ovens, Templeman, Kirby, Lalli, Kinsela, Jones, Ward, Reddacliff, Gerrard, McGrath, Sempf, Schulte, March. Res - Graving, Ryan

Great Britain: Ian Wilkinson, Carl Gibson, Andy Currier, Darren Wright, Henderson Gill, Mike Ford, Paul Hulme, Brian Case, Paul Groves, Hugh Waddell, Roy Powell, Karl Fairbank, Roy Haggerty. Res - Paul Loughlin, Martin Offiah

2nd Ashes Test[edit]

Match commentary provided by Darryl Eastlake.

Tuesday, 28 June
Australia  34 – 14  Great Britain
Sam Backo
Andrew Ettingshausen
Peter Jackson
Wally Lewis
Michael O'Connor
Wayne Pearce
Michael O'Connor (5)
[12] Tries:
Phil Ford
Martin Offiah

Paul Loughlin (3)
Lang Park, Brisbane
Attendance: 27,130
Referee/s: Francois Desplas France
Man of the Match: Wally Lewis Australian colours.svg
Australia Pos. Great Britain
Garry Jack FB Paul Loughlin
Tony Currie WG Henderson Gill
Peter Jackson CE Phil Ford
Michael O'Connor CE Ellery Hanley (c)
Andrew Ettingshausen WG Martin Offiah
Wally Lewis (c) SO David Hulme
Peter Sterling SH Andy Gregory
Phil Daley PR Kevin Ward
Greg Conescu HK Kevin Beardmore
Sam Backo PR Roy Powell
Wally Fullerton Smith SR Paul Dixon
Paul Vautin SR Andy Platt
Wayne Pearce LF Mike Gregory
Gary Belcher Res. Darren Wright
Bob Lindner Res. Paul Hulme
Don Furner Coach Mal Reilly

On Lang Park's electronic scoreboard the message "Bullfrog - shame our favourite No 7 isn't here" was displayed in a reference to Queensland halfback Allan Langer being overlooked for selection by Kangaroos team manager Peter Moore in favour of Peter Sterling.[26]

The tourists got first points with a penalty kick. After playing the ball three quarters of the way towards Great Britain's line Australians moved the ball through the hands out to left centre Michael O'Connor who broke through the defence and scored the first try. Australia's next try came in the twentieth minute when Wally Lewis chip kicked the ball ahead for himself, re-gathered it and passed it Peter Jackson who crossed untouched and scored behind the uprights.[27] O'Connor successfully converted his try taking the score to 14–4 in favour of the hosts. After playing the ball around mid field the Australians kept the ball alive with a total of nine passes, the last of which was to Andrew Ettingshausen on the right wing who beat Martin Offiah to dive over in the corner. O'Connor's conversion attempt hit the upright so the half time score remained at 18–4.[26]

After the break Great Britain were playing the ball within their own half of the field when Ellery Hanley got it at first receiver and ran himself, splitting the defence and racing into Australia's half where he passed to Ford who ran the remaining forty metres to score beneath the uprights. Sam Backo then scored a close range try, running from dummy-half and forcing his way over the line. Again playing the ball close to Great Britain's line Australia scored from dummy half once more when Wayne Pearce dived over. Playing the ball just inside Great Britain's half the Australians continued up-field, evading tacklers and passing to support players, the last of whom was Wally Lewis who ran the remaining metres to score untouched. Five minutes from full-time Andy Gregory was sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes—effectively for the remainder of the game—after another high tackle on Ettingshausen.[26]

By winning this match Australia successfully defended their Ashes title. The Poms' excessive aggression was seen as costing them the match.[28] Criticism of French referee Desplas also continued.[29]

Sunday, 3 July
Western Division 26 – 28 Great Britain
Moy, Michael Peachy, Mark Smith, Wilfred Williams
Robert Clark (5)
[13] Tries:
Martin Offiah (2), Paul Groves, Ellery Hanley, Andy Currier
Andy Currier (4)
Wade Park, Orange
Attendance: 3,520
Referee/s: Phil Robinson

Western Division: Frail, Wilfred Williams, Casey, Mark Smith, Newman, Clark, Douglas, Gibson, Luke, McAnally, Fitzgerald, Michael Peachy, Moy. Res - Stammers, Batty

Great Britain: Ian Wilkinson, Carl Gibson, Andy Currier, Darren Wright, Martin Offiah, Ellery Hanley (c), Mike Ford, Brian Case, Paul Groves, Hugh Waddell, Karl Fairbank, Paul Hulme, Mike Gregory.

With Great Britain leading 26–10 with 20 minutes to go, the local forwards rallied strongly to give the Lions a fright.[30]

Tuesday, 5 July
President's XIII 24 – 16 Great Britain
Steve O'Brien, Glenn Lazarus, Greg Alexander, Mal Meninga, Graeme Bradley
Mal Meninga (2)
[14] Tries:
Phil Ford, Mike Gregory
Paul Loughlin (2)
Seiffert Oval, Canberra
Attendance: 6,037
Referee/s: Eddie Ward Australia

President's XIII: Phil Blake, Steve O'Brien, Mal Meninga, Graeme Bradley, Adam O'Neill, Greg Florimo, Greg Alexander, Glenn Lazarus, Mario Fenech (c), David Gillespie, Gavin Miller, Mark Geyer, David Trewhella. Res - Steve Robinson, Ian Gately

Great Britain: Phil Ford, Carl Gibson, Paul Loughlin, Darren Wright, Andy Currier, David Hulme, Andy Gregory, Kevin Ward, Kevin Beardmore, Roy Powell, Mike Gregory (c), Richie Eyres, John Joyner. Res - Paul Hulme, Hugh Waddell

The President's XIII side led 14–2 after 22 minutes but the tourists brought it back to 18–16 in the increasingly muddy conditions.[31]

3rd Ashes Test[edit]

This match also counted toward the result of the 1985–1988 World Cup tournament. Australia were considered favourites, having won the past fifteen consecutive test matches.[28] Great Britain's chances were also lessened by the squad missing the likes of Shaun Edwards, Kevin Beardmore, Steve Hampson, Andy Platt, Garry Schofield, Joe Lydon, Lee Crooks and Andy Goodway for one reason or another, and some players taking to the field not fully fit. It was the debut of Paul Hulme and Hugh Waddell in the front row.[32] The match was broadcast by the Nine network with commentary from Darryl Eastlake and Jack Gibson.

Saturday, 9 July
Australia  12 – 26  Great Britain
Wally Lewis
Sam Backo

O'Connor (2/2)
[15] Tries:
Henderson Gill (2)
Martin Offiah
Phil Ford
Mike Gregory
Loughlin (3/5)
Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 15,944
Referee/s: Francis Desplas France
Man of the Match: Andy Gregory Great Britain colours.svg
Australia Position Great Britain
Garry Jack 1. FB Phil Ford
Andrew Ettingshausen 2. WG Henderson Gill
Michael O'Connor 3. CE David Stephenson
Peter Jackson 4. CE Paul Loughlin
Tony Currie 5. WG Martin Offiah
Wally Lewis (c) 6. FE/SO David Hulme
Peter Sterling 7. HB/SH Andy Gregory
Martin Bella 8. PR Kevin Ward
Greg Conescu 9. HK Paul Hulme
Sam Backo 10. PR Hugh Waddell
Wally Fullerton Smith 11. SR Mike Gregory
Paul Vautin 12. SR Roy Powell
Wayne Pearce 13. LF Ellery Hanley (c)
Gary Belcher 14. Res. Brian Case
Bob Lindner 15. Res. Darren Wright
Don Furner Coach Mal Reilly

Early in the match Great Britain were disallowed a try when Henderson Gill dived onto an Andy Gregory bomb which was not secured by the Australian fullback.[33] The Kangaroos then had chances to score at the other end of the field, but the British defence held strong. The first try of the match would go to the visitors when, playing the ball inside Australia's twenty-two, they strung some passes together, getting the ball out to Martin Offiah who dove over the line on the right wing. The conversion attempt was missed so the score was 0–4 with over three quarters of the match still to be played.[34] A few minutes later Great Britain were again on the attack in Australia's territory and keeping the ball alive, their scrum half back Andy Gregory darting about elusively before passing it to Ford who stepped and weaved his way amongst the defenders to dash through and score near the uprights. The conversion was successful, giving Great Britain a 0–10 lead. Shortly before half-time Australia suffered a major setback when their halfback Peter Sterling was forced off with a dislocated shoulder after being driven into the turf in a tackle by Roy Powell.[28] No more points were scored in the first half, so this was the score at the break.

Australia scored first in the second half after winning a scrum against the feed within Great Britain's twenty-two. Working the ball up close to the uprights, their captain Wally Lewis got it at first receiver and ran it into the defence, wrestling his way through to the tryline where he reached out and put it down beneath the black dot. The try was successfully converted, so the score was 6–10 in favour of the Lions. Great Britain then extended their lead after working the ball up into an attacking position where Andy Gregory chipped it ahead. In the rush of chasers from both sides trying to reach the ball it was knocked ahead into the in-goal area where Henderson Gill dived on it. The kick was successful so the British were leading 6–16.[35] Again the Britons' failure to win a scrum in their own territory afforded Australia another opportunity, with forward Sam Backo crashing over the line shortly after from close range. The successful kick brought the Kangaroos back to within an unconverted try at 12–16. The Lions struck again from deep within their own half where centre Paul Loughlin got the ball at first receiver, ran through the defensive line and crossed half-way before passing to Henderson Gill in support on his outside to dive over on the right wing. The conversion attempt was missed, so the British lead was 12–20. Then they scored another long range try while working the ball away from their own line, Andy Gregory making a dart from dummy half, catching the markers napping and getting into open space. He then found Mike Gregory in support who ran about seventy metres to dive over under the posts.[34] The easy kick meant a 26–12 lead for Great Britain and this is where the scoreboard remained at full-time.

Australian front row forward Sam Backo scored a try in all three tests. This saw him join legendary winger Ken Irvine (1963) as the only Australians to score a try in each test of an Ashes series.

This was the end of a 15-match winning streak for the Australians,[36] and Great Britain's first Test victory over the Kangaroos since their 18–14 win at Odsal Stadium during the 1978 Kangaroo tour, as well as their first win in Australia for 18 years. It also put Great Britain on top of the World Cup points table.[37]

After the match there was a gala dinner at the Regent Hotel.[38]

New Zealand[edit]

The Lions lost all three of their matches in New Zealand.

Wednesday, 13 July
Wellington 24 – 18 Great Britain
3 Tries:
James Leuluai
Mike Kuiti

3 Goals:
David Ewe
[16] 4 Tries:
Karl Fairbank (2)
Richard Eyres
Andy Currier
4 Goals:
Paul Loughlin (2)
Andy Currier
David Stephenson
Porirua Park, Wellington
Attendance: 4,428
Referee/s: Des O'Sullivan

Tuesday, 19 July
Auckland 30 - 14 Great Britain
5 Tries:
Kelly Shelford (2)
Paddy Tuimavave
Peter Brown
Francis Leota
5 Goals:
Peter Brown (3)
Phil Bancroft (2)
[17] 2 Tries:
Henderson Gill (2)

3 Goals:
Paul Loughlin
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Attendance: 8,000
Referee/s: Bill Shrimpton

Test Match[edit]

The result of this match would determine who would contest the final of the 1985–1988 World Cup tournament's final to be played later in the year. Commentary was provided by England's Ray French.

Sunday, 17 July
New Zealand  10 – 12  Great Britain
2 Tries:
Gary Freeman

2 Goals:
Peter Brown
[18] 2 Tries:
David Hulme
Paul Loughlin
1 Goal:
Paul Loughlin
Addington Showground (Christchurch)
Attendance: 8,525
Referee/s: Mick Stone Australia
New Zealand Pos. Great Britain
Darrell Williams 1. FB Phil Ford
Shane Horo 2. WG Henderson Gill
Dean Bell (c) 3. CE David Stephenson
Kevin Iro 4. CE Paul Loughlin
Gary Mercer 5. WG Martin Offiah
Shane Cooper 6. SO David Hulme
Clayton Friend 7. SH Andy Gregory
Peter Brown 8. PR Kevin Ward
Wayne Wallace 9. HK Kevin Beardmore
Adrian Shelford 10. PR Hugh Waddell
Mark Graham 11. SR Mike Gregory
Sam Stewart 12. SR Roy Powell
Mark Horo 13.LF Ellery Hanley (c)
Gary Freeman 14. Res. Paul Hulme
Anthony Gordon Coach Mal Reilly

It was a rainy afternoon in Christchurch. Following the national anthems "God Save the Queen" and "God Defend New Zealand", and a haka by the Kiwis, Great Britain kicked off. In slippery conditions New Zealand knocked during the first set of six. This resulted in a scrum to the visitors deep inside the Kiwis' territory. From the scrum win the ball was moved out to the left where a pass was knocked down by a New Zealand defender but re-gathered by British centre Paul Laughlin who dived over the line. The referee awarded the try which Louglin failed to convert, so Great Britain got out to an early 4 nil lead. A few minutes later a penalty was awarded to the Lions but Loughlin's kick was again wide. Shortly after that New Zealand were awarded a penalty and Peter Brown kicked it successfully, bringing the margin back to two points at 2–4.

Great Britain captain Ellery Hanley sustained a cut under his eye during the match which required 12 stitches.[39]


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