Lions tour 1971

The British and Irish Lions won their first series in New Zealand in three-quarters of a century.

Last Updated: 20/04/13 5:37pm

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A star was born on the 1971 British and Irish Lions tour as the squad won their first series in New Zealand in three-quarters of a century.

Barry John shot to the nation's attention with his superb kicking and running.

John Dawes' team was not expected to perform well after their previous tour to New Zealand ended in a 4-0 whitewash.

However, Wales had just won the Grand Slam and supplied the majority of players to the squad.

They lost their opening match to Queensland - part of a two-match stop off in Australia before crossing Tasman - but they would taste defeat just once more during the 26-match tour.

Ian McLaughlin was the hero in the first Test as he settled a low-scoring affair with a try after John had scored two penalties to give the Lions an opening 9-3 victory over the All Blacks.

Some of the visitors have now admitted they were 'over-confident' after the victory and they were shown up in the second enouncter, playing well below their best.

Two Gerald Davies tries and a drop-goal and penalty from the imperious John were not enough to defeat an impressive All Blacks team that ran in five tries in a 22-12 win.

This loss turned out to be the catalyst for a six-year unbeaten run that would include the next Lions tour.

The third Test was the one that propelled John into the limelight. A try, two conversions and a drop goal from the Welsh wizard were added to by another Davies try. Laurie Mains replied with a solitary score for New Zealand but The Lions were back on top with a 13-3 win.

The Lions went into the final Test knowing that avoiding defeat would secure a historic series victory.

John was again fantastic with the boot, converting the Lions' only try from Peter Dixon and adding a penalty to put the score 11-11 after tries from Tom Lister and Wayne Cottrell were added to by a Mains conversion and penalty.

Full-back JPR Williams then received the ball 45 metres out before scoring a fantastic drop goal, which eventually became the only Test drop goal of his career to put the Lions three points ahead.

Mains scored another penalty to tie the match up but the Lions held out to draw the Test and win the series 2-1 to record a momentous series win.

1971

May 12 v Queensland L 12-15
May 15 v New South Wales W 14-12
May 22 v Counties-Thames Valley W 25-3
May 26 v King Country-Wanganui W 22-9
May 29 v Waikato W 35-14
June 2 v New Zealand Maori W 23-12
June 5 v Wellington W 47-9
June 9 vSouth Canterbury/Mid Canterbury/North Otago W 25-6
June 12 v Otago W 21-9
June 17 v West Coast-Buller W 39-6
June 19 v Canterbury W 14-9
June 22 v Marlborough-Nelson Bays W 31-12
June 26 v New Zealand W 9-3
June 30 v Southland W 25-3
July 3 v Taranaki W 14-9
July 6 v New Zealand Universities W 27-6
July 10 v New Zealand L 12-22
July 14 v Wairarapa-Bush W 27-6
July 17 v Hawke's Bay W 25-6
July 21 v Poverty Bay-East Coast W 18-12
July 24 v Auckland W 19-12
July 31 v New Zealand W 13-3
August 4 v Manawatu-Horowhenua W 39-6
August 7 v North Auckland W 11-5
August 10 v Bay of Plenty W 20-14
August 14 v New Zealand D 14-14

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