|1955 British Lions tour to South Africa|
|Date||22 June – 27 September|
|Tour captain(s)||Robin Thompson|
|Test series winners||Tied (2–2)|
|Top test point scorer(s)||Jeff Butterfield (12)|
|1955 British Lions tour to South Africa|
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.
There is a frequently repeated urban legendthat 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 and replacements were not allowed in international rugby until 13 years after this event is supposed to have taken place.
Scores and results list Lions' points tally first.
|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|
Barry John is a former Welsh rugby union fly-half who played, during the amateur era of the sport, in the 1960s, and early 1970s. John began his rugby career as a schoolboy playing for his local team Cefneithin RFC before switching to first-class west Wales team Llanelli RFC in 1964. It was while at Llanelli that John was first selected for the Wales national team, a shock selection as a replacement for David Watkins to face a touring Australian team.
Cardiff Rugby Football Club is a rugby union football club based in Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. The club was founded in 1876 and played their first few matches at Sophia Gardens, shortly after which relocating to Cardiff Arms Park where they have been based ever since.
In 1980 the British Lions rugby union team toured South Africa. The tour was not a success for the Lions, as they lost the first three tests before salvaging some pride with a win in the fourth. The team did however win all their 14 non-international matches. The Lions were captained by Bill Beaumont.
In 1974, the British Lions toured South Africa, with matches in South West Africa and Rhodesia. Under the leadership of Willie John McBride, the Lions would go through the tour undefeated, winning 21 of their 22 matches and being held to a draw in the final match, albeit in controversial circumstances. The 1974 squad would become regarded in history as 'The Invincibles' and the greatest ever rugby tour in history.
In 1971 the Lions toured New Zealand, also playing two matches in Australia. Despite losing the first match to Queensland the tour was a great success, the Lions winning the Test series against the All Blacks. They are still the only Lions side to have won a Test series in New Zealand. The side was captained by John Dawes, coached by Carwyn James and managed by Doug Smith.
Rhys Thomas "Rusty" Gabe born as Rees Thomas Gape, was a Welsh rugby union player who played club rugby for Llanelli, London Welsh and Cardiff and gained 24 caps for Wales, mainly as a centre.
Thomas Patrick David is a Welsh former dual-code international rugby union and rugby league footballer who played in the 1970s and 1980s. He played representative rugby union (RU) for Wales and the British Lions and rugby league (RL) for Wales. He was selected for the 1974 British Lions tour to South Africa, and at the time played club rugby for Llanelli RFC. He also played for his home-town club Pontypridd RFC, and while at the club was part of the 1976 Grand Slam winning Wales team. In 1981 he switched codes to rugby league, representing Cardiff City Blue Dragons.
In 1977 the British Lions rugby union team toured New Zealand. The Lions played 26 matches, including four internationals against the All Blacks. They lost the series against the All Blacks by three matches to one. The team played as the British Isles in their internationals against the All Blacks and the British Lions for the non-international games. Unlike all previous tours to New Zealand, the Lions did not play any matches in Australia, though one game was also played at Buckhurst Park, Suva, against Fiji.
In 1968 the British Lions toured South Africa. The tour was not successful in terms of international results, the Lions losing the Test series against South Africa by three matches to nil, with the other match drawn. The Lions won 15 of their 16 non-international matches, losing only to Transvaal. The touring party was captained by Tom Kiernan, coached by Ronnie Dawson and managed by David Brooks. Star back Barry John broke his collar bone in a dangerous tackle in the first Test.
The 1914 Five Nations Championship was the fifth series of the rugby union Five Nations Championship following the inclusion of France into the Home Nations Championship. Including the previous Home Nations Championships, this was the thirty-second series of the annual northern hemisphere rugby union championship. Ten matches were played between 1 January and 13 April. It was contested by England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
In 1966 the British Lions toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against Australia but lost all four internationals against the All Blacks.
In 1962 the British Lions rugby union team toured Southern and Eastern Africa. Overall the tourists played twenty-five matches, winning sixteen, losing five and drawing four.
In 1959, the British Lions rugby union team toured Australia and New Zealand. The Lions won the two test matches against Australia but lost the international series against the All Blacks by three matches to one. They also played two matches in Canada, on the return leg of the journey.
Terence John "Terry" Davies MBE was a Welsh international full back who played club rugby for Swansea and Llanelli. He won 21 caps for Wales and was selected to play in the British Lions on the 1959 tour of Australia and New Zealand. Davies is seen as the last great Welsh full backs, before the 'No direct kicking into touch' rule was introduced in the late sixties and changed the full back role.
The 1931–32 South Africa tour of Britain and Ireland was a collection of friendly rugby union games undertaken by the South Africa national team against the four British Home Nation teams. The tour also took in several matches against British and Irish club, county and invitational teams. This was the fourth South Africa tour and the third tour of the Northern Hemisphere.
In 1951-52 the South Africa national rugby union team toured England, France, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, playing a series of test matches, as well as games against club, regional, and representative teams. South Africa accomplished their third Grand Slam by winning all four tests against the Home Nations sides, and also won the test match against France. This was the sixth South Africa tour and the fourth tour of the Northern Hemisphere. It was also the first time the South Africans played the invitational British Barbarian team.
Since 1989, the British & Irish Lions have developed a regular 12-year cycle of tours visiting one of the following three Southern Hemisphere nations, in turn, every four years:
Established in 1950, The East Africa rugby union team is a multi-national rugby union team drawing players from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, though the vast majority of these came from Kenya which has traditionally been the strongest rugby playing nation in this part of the world. The team has played against incoming international, representative and club touring sides and it conducted seven tours between 1954 and 1982.
British Lions v The Rest was a 1986 rugby union match that saw the British Lions play against 'The Rest' to celebrate the centenary of the International Rugby Football Board. The Rest consisted of players from Australia, France, New Zealand and South Africa. At the time, there were only eight unions affiliated to the Board, thus only players from those countries were chosen. The Rest beat the Lions 15-7 in April 1986 in the match played at Cardiff Arms Park.
Gareth Davies is a Wales international rugby union player currently playing for the Scarlets. His position is scrum-half. He is a fluent Welsh speaker.