Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Behind the scenes - British & Irish Lions Tour 1997 vs Natal

The British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa in 1997 was remembered as being one of the best Lions tours to date. A victory over the Boks in their own back yard was achieved for only the second time in the century by the Lions, making it a tour that will always be remembered as a historic occasion for fans around the globe.

Over the course of the next few months and year leading up to the 2009 tour of South Africa for the British & Irish Lions, we'll be digging up the best moments from the Lions tours thus far and featuring them in the build up to what should be another classic period in the history of world rugby.

Certainly, 1997 had some breathtaking moments that will forever be remembered and looked back on as classic bits of play that will be revered for being ingredients towards the tremendous victory. Who could forget Matt Dawson sniping down the wing and dummying about three of the Springbok defenders? Or that classic John Bentley 50m try vs Transvaal at Ellis Park? The biggest moment of course was Jerry Guscott's winning drop kick that sealed the series for the men from the British Isles.

This footage that you're about to watch though features one of the poignant occurrences on the tour. It's the devastating moment when superb Welsh scrum half Rob Howley realises his tour is over, the week before the first test, after dislocating his shoulder against late nineties powerhouses Natal in Durban. The injury cruelly denied Howley the chance to gain a full Lions cap at the time.

The clip starts with a highly rousing speech from coach Ian McGeechan that sends shivers down the spine and gives you an inside view as to one of the reasons why he's so well respected. Through the game we see the reactions of the players up close, and then of course the ill-fated injury to Howley. We also see tough as nails Martin Johnson nonchalantly getting stitched up before returning to the field.

Final Score: 42-14 to the Lions.
Time: 08:15

PLEASE NOTE: After the Waratahs War video from 2001, plenty of you mentioned and requested this clip, so here it is, but it comes with a warning for the more squeamish of viewers. The Howley injury isn't pretty, and the Martin Johnson gash to the eye is also very graphic, so watch with caution and if you don't like blood, rather watch Percy having his hair pulled here.




  • Wow, looked like a dirty match on Natal's side.. Martin Johnson.. what a tough motherf***er! He is my idol when it comes to being hardened. Some good trys there too! I am loving these Lion Tours videos! Being in Canada, I haven't even seen much of the Lions playing. Thanks RD

    By Anonymous Cory, at May 21, 2008 1:42 am  

  • great vid!!!

    By Anonymous Cheis, at May 21, 2008 2:06 am  

  • Pretty sure I could play like a man possessed after a talk like McGeechan's. F*ck's sake!

    By Blogger Brett, at May 21, 2008 2:10 am  

  • Post the great kangaroo court video from the same tour. That footage shows why Keith Wood is a legend...

    By Blogger yesiamahooker, at May 21, 2008 3:08 am  

  • Good to be reminded how tremendously emotional the game remains, even at the highest levels. I second "More Woody!"

    By Anonymous Ref, at May 21, 2008 4:00 am  

  • holy shit they were puking

    By Anonymous Jamie Lafrance, at May 21, 2008 6:58 am  

  • Rob Howley!
    he was a wonderfully talented scrum half, so sad for him.

    By Anonymous Davd, at May 21, 2008 9:06 am  

  • and a typical big hit from Scott Gibbs ;)

    By Anonymous David, at May 21, 2008 9:12 am  

  • I still punch the air when Mike Catt scores that try in the second half.

    The clip is brillaint, and it's incredible, that speech by McGeechan, not a single curse in it and so stirring the man is an absolute legend, you can tell he's picked his word very carefully and left all the effing and blinding to the other guys. He's so calm, and concise.

    That really was an amazing tour, i remember watching it with my brother and my dad every weekend. Even the midweek games my boss used to get about three of us into his office to watch it while we did our paper work.

    the intensity of every game was just something I'd never seen before, made me understand what a challenge every Lions tour was and why it means more to the players then even winning the world cup.

    It's incredible, there is no other sport in the world that can do this, i don't care what anyone says. I honestly don't know of any sport that can match Rugby for intensity and team ethos, but the Lions just takes it on a step for both the Touring party and the Host nation.

    Fantastic stuff Rugbydump, just what i needed to see.

    By Anonymous goodNumber10, at May 21, 2008 10:09 am  

  • Yeah, great vid. Rob Howley, for me, is still the best scrum half the Northern Hemisphere has produced in the last twenty five years.

    I think the reason it was such a good tour was that all four countries had good representation - something that has not been repeated since. McGeechan needs to make sure he doesn't just pick the squad of whichever country wins the Championship next year.

    On another note - how weird to see Dallaglio with a full head of hair! He's lost pretty much every one of those in the last 11 years...

    By Anonymous will66, at May 21, 2008 11:18 am  

  • goodnumber10, I'm pretty sure I heard something around 1:35 actually... but I don't mind, it adds to the intensity.

    A special piece of footage, and we can only hope and pray that more teams around the world, and particularly the Lions tour next year, will allow cameras behind the scenes like that again.

    By Anonymous Sharky, at May 21, 2008 1:07 pm  

  • Christ...look at the size of rob howley and this is before teams really started pushing players to do weights!! Beast of a man and a brilliant player...just goes to show what a professional he was

    By Anonymous John, at May 21, 2008 1:57 pm  

  • hey, I can't see the vid! I'm using mozilla firefox, can the problem be caused by it?

    By Blogger joan, at May 21, 2008 2:06 pm  

  • - So many guys puking before the game

    - Gotta be amazing to walk out to bagpipes. The Rupert Murdochs of the world may want dancing girls, and some Ibizan nightclub techno to welcome the players out, but I think tradition has its place.

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at May 21, 2008 2:58 pm  

  • great vid loved it! makes me want to dig out the old vhs of living with the lions lol

    ***Matt Dawson sniping down the wing and dummying about three of the Springbok defenders? ***

    hahah lets make it more like five or six lol

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 21, 2008 3:58 pm  

  • Joan.. try refreshing.. the issue is highlighted in the news section up top, and the link there will give you more info.

    By Anonymous Greiffel, at May 21, 2008 3:59 pm  

  • I dislocated my left shoulder in much the same way as Rob Howley though that was the first time i had ever done something like that to my shoulder. It bloody kills.

    Great speech not often i get inspired a pre-match talk.

    By Anonymous AbbyNo7, at May 21, 2008 5:35 pm  

  • 3 things I have to say

    I was rather uninspired by that pre-game speech...usually it's *yawn* then my thought goes on to hitting people

    the whole puking thing got to me, but i guess that's wut pressure on that scale does to u

    Martin Johnson=BALLS.

    By Blogger Don, at May 21, 2008 8:37 pm  

  • martin johnson eats people like you for breakfast.^^^

    By Anonymous mick, at May 21, 2008 8:42 pm  

  • @Mick, why do i believe you? LOL!

    By Blogger Don, at May 21, 2008 9:15 pm  

  • poor rob....'how long am i out for?'

    just a week or two. oh and wood at the start of the match eh!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 21, 2008 9:39 pm  

  • rob howleys huge!! lol

    great vid rd cheers

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 22, 2008 12:00 am  

  • lmao at the wretching at the start i know there is no where near the pressure but i have been the same for some matches. Shame watching howley and about the injury very sad i guess this is really a best of a best type of tour and to make it on it and then be sent home.


    awesome video, gotta laugh at Johnson at the very end though, there he is, cool as you like talking about the game and progression as a small trickle of blood goes down his face!! you notice how he stopped talking and rubbed the other side....you think someone was trying to hint?!

    By Blogger No.7, at May 22, 2008 1:14 am  

  • Uncle Fester..
    starts with that amazing speech...

    Only he is a guy that could take a chip kick that is -- according to eery schoolboy coach -- wrong on so many levels (inside the 22m, kicked by a front row forward), and have it turn into magic..

    What a legend.

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at May 22, 2008 5:36 am  

  • Johnson - Stitches mate, just stick the stitches in! Awesome, that is the passion that being the leader of the Lions gives you.

    Howley injury doesn't look that bad, but from personal experience it is absolute agony, wish I could have held it together like him. 2 real legends of the lions and I still have the hairs sticking up all over my body from Gech's speech!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 22, 2008 2:27 pm  

  • It is quite amazing to hear Geech's speech.

    Too often in America, we hear about the "Big" coaches -- ENG, FRA, IRE, SANZARs.

    With SCO always fighting ITA for the Six Nations wooden spoon, coaches from "lesser" countries like his don't get much press or attention.

    After hearing this (and seeing some of his IRB training tapes), you really get a sense of how special he is.

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at May 22, 2008 3:11 pm  

  • Three words to discribe Martin Johnson in this video 'Hard as nails' great video.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 15, 2008 10:43 am  

  • johnno really has balls of steel :)

    By Anonymous opfazonk, at April 27, 2009 6:07 pm  

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