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

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Looking back at the Lions' series win in South Africa in 1997

As we all know, the British & Irish Lions play the first Test of the 2009 tour of South Africa against the Springboks in Durban this Saturday. This years crop will look to emulate their successful predecessors, who famously won the series the last time they visited the country, back in 1997.

Twelve years ago the World Champion Springboks hosted the first professional Lions squad of the modern era. The Boks were considered by many to be the favourites, but it was the visitors who pulled off the sensational series win, the following in the footsteps of the legendary group who won there in 1974.

Ian McGeechan was coach in 1997 too, and along with Jim Telfer and Fran Cotton, used their collective experience to put together a powerful unit that played to their strengths, and prevailed against the odds.

Led by the imposing figure of Martin Johnson, the Lions won the first Test in Cape Town, with that famous Matt Dawsom dummy stopping about four Bok defenders dead in their tracks.

In the second Test, Jeremy Guscott proved the difference minutes from time, as with both sides level on 15-15, the England center coolly slotted a drop goal that effectively won them the series.

The Springboks found their rhythm and got their goal kicking right in the third and final Test, winning 36-16, but it was to no avail as the visitors had already won the series 2-1.

Their are a few obvious parallels that can be drawn between this years tour, and that of 1997: The Springboks were World Champions, Ian McGeechan was coach, and a big, powerful lock was captain. Will history repeat itself?

We have a really interesting two part video from Total Rugby that shows just how the Lions went about winning the series back then. Part one first, then part two. Enjoy.



  • John "The Bull" Hayes has just been called up....Go on the Irish!

    By Anonymous Donkey Punch, at June 18, 2009 6:12 pm  

  • Every player bar Marcus Horan who started for Ireland against wales in the grandslam decider has now been called up to the squad....nice

    By Anonymous Donkey Punch, at June 18, 2009 6:16 pm  

  • People don't mention it often but Bok Teichman bounces off a Lions player on the way to setting up a try in the 1st test at 1.49 on the second video.....it was Scott Gibbs!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 18, 2009 6:51 pm  

  • history wont repeat it self :)

    By Anonymous Alain, at June 18, 2009 7:04 pm  

  • Lions are gonna get smashed. I mean what the hell has monye got that habana hasnt? Fitzgerald should be there.
    Lions to lose by 17+ points.

    By Anonymous DamnEnglishOnMyLionsTour, at June 18, 2009 7:17 pm  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Flooz, at June 18, 2009 7:21 pm  

  • it was a great performance from the lions in 1997. they knew that they can't beat boks on playing running rugby, so they played with their heads.

    in 2009, i think it will be the same kind of opposition. same result?

    RD say that a big lock who was lions captain (johnson) will win the RWC.
    Uhh are u do an alusion to the fact that o'connell could become that man with ireland...?

    i'm not very sure

    By Blogger Flooz, at June 18, 2009 7:22 pm  

  • Fingers crossed for the Lions.Hard to say what will happen against the mighty boks!!!!!!!!

    By Blogger handson, at June 18, 2009 8:08 pm  

  • this video has given me a serious dose of the horn. roll on saturday.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 18, 2009 8:08 pm  

  • Great Memories I cant wait for saturday and I just found out what Tom Smith's voice sounds like he's posh as hell!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 18, 2009 8:22 pm  

  • This will be a conservative start to the test series as the teams feel each other out. I expect the eventual winner to win by 5 or less.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 18, 2009 8:25 pm  

  • Flooz, what are you asking buddy?

    By Anonymous Greiffel, at June 18, 2009 9:00 pm  

  • go on farmer hayes!!
    didnt realise that bout all the irish players except horan been called up. that mean 15 have as earls was called up too??
    moyne shouldnt be there, it should be fitzy. hes only on cuz he got tries but fitzys the better player.
    dont see the lions coming close to the boks but hope its a close entertaining match all the same, better than the warm ups and hopefully the lions will edge it!!

    By Anonymous dj, at June 18, 2009 11:51 pm  

  • monye shouldnt be on the starting team should be fitz!!

    delighted for jones as well been playing good rugby all year think he had ROG bet before they set foot in south africa

    lions 2-1 me thinks:)

    By Anonymous creggs08, at June 19, 2009 12:20 am  

  • Why Guscott? Why? LOL

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 19, 2009 3:22 am  

  • I think it shows consistency of selection to Monye in; Geech said that everyone in the squad would have an equal chance of selection depending on how they played in the warm-up games and he's stuck to that. Fitzgerald is a very good player but he hasn't played as well as Monye whilst on tour.

    The fact is that as a winger you are going to be judged on how many tries you score. People complain about Monye's defence but when was the last time you saw a winger selected because of his defence?

    It perhaps isn't fair on Fitz as he has not been given as many opportunities to score as Monye, but nevertheless Monye has scored in every game he's played on tour thus far.

    Personally I'm pretty happy with the team, although that might be simply because I'm English and it did not look like we'd have any players in the Test XV at one point.

    By Anonymous Ted, at June 19, 2009 9:04 am  

  • Seeing those vids just makes me really want to Boks to have them 3-0 so we can put those ghosts to rest once and for all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 19, 2009 11:33 am  

  • keith woods kick and chase.. genius

    By Anonymous jooo, at June 19, 2009 11:52 am  

  • Why Guscott? ! Classic!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 19, 2009 12:25 pm  

  • tight match, but lions to edge it!!! cant wait!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 19, 2009 1:28 pm  

  • The Lions have one of the most dangerous set of backs ever put together. Big statement, but true.. But they need the fowards to work their asses off, think it will prob go down to this.

    Monye Vs Habana? Monye all day, hope he shows him how its done

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 19, 2009 2:40 pm  

  • God, I remember it all as though it were yesterday. And it hurts as much seeing it now as it did then.

    Os Du Randt - what a prop and what a great guy.

    By Blogger Jacques, at June 19, 2009 3:24 pm  

  • Monyes defence is one of the reasons he has been picked! - did you not see him dump the prop into touch on Tuesday? Has been great defensively all season . .

    That, and the fact he can show any other wing in world rugby a clean pair of heels are why he is in there.

    No idea who'll win, but have a feeling this will turn out to be a classic.

    By Anonymous Alex, at June 19, 2009 3:58 pm  

  • anyone want to bet on a score
    id say

    By Anonymous ybr, at June 19, 2009 4:04 pm  

  • to the lions

    By Anonymous ybr, at June 19, 2009 4:04 pm  

  • Great videos, great memories, great personalities:

    John Bentley - top bloke
    Os du Randt - top bloke
    Ian McGeechan - top bloke
    Jerry Guscott - w*nker

    Ah well.

    By Anonymous MisterDavid, at June 19, 2009 4:56 pm  

  • I was too young to remember this series, but I can't wait for this one!! I think it will go to the final Test, the Boks will win this one marginally, Lions to win 2 & 3.

    Luke Fitzgerald and Monye are similar but I think because Monye just got to play more rugby he put his face in the shop window more. Lukie didn't get a fair crack at the whip at all!!!

    DJ, actually 16 Irish now involved with the Lions :)

    By Anonymous Brick Shithouse, at June 19, 2009 5:03 pm  

  • Yeah 16 including Earls and Alan "Hokey Pokey" Quinlan

    By Anonymous Donkey Punch, at June 19, 2009 5:13 pm  

  • haha Alan "Hokey Pokey" Quinlan. class. jaysus he must feel like some tit! why he did that i'l never know!

    By Anonymous dj, at June 19, 2009 5:35 pm  

  • the series reaaly hinges on this match i feel. i reckon whoever wins tommorrow will win overall. i dont see it being like the 2001 tour

    By Blogger Paul Gormley, at June 19, 2009 5:46 pm  

  • Tears to the eye stuff.

    I was eight at the time, just getting into rugby, and I can still remember it. Incredible.

    By Anonymous H.I.M, at June 19, 2009 10:56 pm  

  • why guscott? why???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 20, 2009 10:20 pm  

  • I would like to hear what people think of keith earls. Being from limerick i saw him single handedly winning the senior schools cup for munchins two years ago. In limerick he is regarded as nothing short of a champion, and as a first year as a professional rugby player he has finished top try scorer for munster, scored a try on his debut for ireland and was called up to the lions tour, now i know roberts and fitzgerald are of similar age and have achieved more in the game but earls was a surprise call-up and even though he had a shocker in the first match he has scored two great tries. Ronan o gara has gone on to compare his impact in his first season to johnny wilkonson and while i dont see earls dropping a goal off his weak foot for ireland in a world cup final i genuinely think he will be a world beater in the next few years. drop a comment to what ye think.

    By Blogger Paul Gormley, at June 24, 2009 8:56 pm  

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