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The History

2009 South Africa

2009 South Africa

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Paul O’Connell
Coach: Ian McGeechan

The 2009 tour started out with fairly low expectations. The Lions were heading down to South Africa, home of the World Champions.

2005 New Zealand

2005 New Zealand

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Brian O’Driscoll
Coach: Clive Woodward

With Sir Clive Woodward hot off the trails of a much lauded World Cup win in 2003, the board of the Lions were quick to appoint him as head coach of the 2005 Lions and to try and recreate that success.

2001 Australia

2001 Australia

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Martin Johnson
Coach: Graham Henry

The tour to Australia in 2001 was coached for the first time by someone outside of the British Isles with Kiwi Graham Henry being appointed to lead the team down under.

1997 South Africa

1997 South Africa

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Martin Johnson
Coach: Ian McGeechan

1997 was the first professional Lions tour undertaken and the current World Cup holders South Africa were expected to thrash the Lions. Fortunately, captain Martin Johnson and coach Ian McGeechan had other ideas.

1993 New Zealand

1993 New Zealand

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Gavin Hastings
Coach: Ian McGeechan

The last tour of the amateur age saw Gavin Hastings captain the side with Ian McGeechan as coach for the second time with Geoff Cooke as tour manager.

1989 Australia

1989 Australia

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Finlay Calder
Coach: Ian McGeechan

This was the first time the Lions had toured Australia since 1971 and the first time they had toured Australia exclusively for 90 years.

1983 New Zealand

1983 New Zealand

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Ciaran Fitzgerald
Coach: Jim Telfer

The New Zealand tour of 1983 was another tour to forget as the Lions went down to a 4-0 whitewash for only the second time in history.

1980 South Africa

1980 South Africa

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Bill Beaumont
Coach: N Murphy

Lions skipper, Bill Beaumont came into the tour following a recapture of the Five Nations crown for the first time in 16 years and proceeded to lead the Lions on their whistlestop tour of South Africa in 1980.

1977 New Zealand

1977 New Zealand

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Phil Bennett
Coach: John Dawes

Following their magnificent series victory in 1971 proved to be a bit of a tough act to follow.

1974 South Africa

1974 South Africa

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Willie John McBride
Coach: Syd Millar

Three years after triumphing in New Zealand the Lions faced a much stiffer test in facing a South African side who had not lost a test series that century.

1971 Australia & New Zealand

1971 Australia & New Zealand

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: John Dawes
Coach: Carwyn James

This was the last combined tour of Australia and New Zealand, and saw captain John Dawes lead the Lions on one of the most successful and memorable British Lions tours ever.

1968 South Africa

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Tom Kiernan
Coach: Ronnie Dawson

Having suffered many series defeats against the Springboks over the years, the Lions were fully expectant of what was in store for them in this tour.

1966 Australia & New Zealand

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Mike Campbell-Lamerton
Coach: J.D Robins

The 1966 Lions were talked up before the tour as being one of the best Lions sides ever, but in reality this Lions tour was probably the worst performance by any Lions team over the years.

1962 South Africa

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Arthur Smith
Coach: D.B Vaughan

The South African tour of 1962 saw a return to the forward dominated style of rugby that had been so successful for the Boks for the past few years.

1959 Australia & New Zealand

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Ronnie Dawson
Coach: A.W Wilson

The 1959 Lions squad was not only captained by Irishman Ronnie Dawson, but for the first time the Irish had a greater representation than Wales, England and Scotland.

1955 South Africa

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Robin Thompson
Coach: D.E Davies

The Lions touring team of 1955 set unprecedented standards in dismantling the aura of the seemingly invincible Springboks and endearing themselves to the hosts at the same time.

1950 Australia & New Zealand

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Karl Mullen
Coach: L.B Osbourne

The first post-war Lions tour saw the parties morale at extremly high levels, due to the extended break afforded to the players before the start of ther tour.

1938 South Africa

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Sam Walker
Coach: B.C Hartley

As the last Lions side to tour before the impending war, the tour in 1938 looked shorn of a number of its star players before the tour even kicked off.

1930 Australia & New Zealand

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: F.D Prentice
Coach: James “Bim” Baxter

The biggest issues of the 1930 tour seemed to be the availability and injury of its key players. 100 players were invited to tour but the Lions could only manage to get 29 players on board for the tour.

1924 South Africa

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Ronald Cove-Smith
Coach: H Packer

The South African tour of 1924 saw the tourists set out as the British Isles rugby team but return as the now famous British Lions.

1910 South Africa

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Tom Smyth
Coach: W Cail

The 1910 tour to South Arica was the first tour to take a serious approach to its organisation. For the first time, all four unions were represented and the missionary work that was part of the previous tours was no longer required and so it was deemed a straight battle for victory.

1908 Australia & New Zealand

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Boxer Harding
Coach: G.F Harnett

In 1908 New Zealand rugby was beginning to come to the fore and this showed in the itinerary of the tour placing a greater emphasis on the number of matches played in each country.

1904 Australia & New Zealand

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Darkie Bedell-Sivright
Coach: A.B O’Brien

The 1904 series saw the introduction of the test series of matches for the first time. The tour was captained by scottish hard man Darkie Bedell-Sivright.

1903 South Africa

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Mark Morrison
Coach: Johnny Hammond

By 1903, the British tourists really knew they were going to have a battle on their hands when they opened up the tour with three bruising losses in the first three games.

1899 Australia

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Matthew Mullineux/Frank Stout
Coach: None

The 1899 tour to Australia was the first time all four home unions played together as the British Isles touring team.

1896 South Africa

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Johnny Hammond
Coach: R Walker

The third British Isles rugby tour returned to South Africa in 1896 to find a stronger and more competitive rugby scene growing.

1891 South Africa

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Bill Maclagen
Coach: E Ash

The 1891 tour to South Africa was the first tour officially undertaken by the RFU and was funded primarily by the Western Province union and Cape Colony Prime Minister Cecil Rhodes.

1888 Australia & New Zealand

1888 Australia & New Zealand

Published: Wednesday 6 June 2012

Captain: Bob Seddon/Andrew Stoddart
Coach: A Shaw

The first recognised British and Irish Lions tour ever was over to Australia and New Zealand and the side was captained by Bob Seddon.

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