Lions tour 1989

The British and Irish Lions create history as they recover to beat Australia 2-1.

Last Updated: 21/04/13 8:45pm

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Finlay Calder's side became the first in Lions history to win a series after losing the opening match as they defeated Australia 2-1.

Australia had been entrusted to host a whole tour for the first time in 90 years as the Lions trimmed their schedule to 12 matches.

Managed by Clive Rowlands, Ian McGeechan coached the Lions for the first time, with Roger Uttley employed as assistant manager.

The tour was always going to be physically intense so the Lions filled the squad with strong players such as Gavin Hastings and an English core of Brian Moore, Paul Ackford, Dean Richards and Mike Teague.

The Lions won all six of their warm-up games, including a 44-0 victory over Western Australia, and went into the opening Test confident of victory.

That confidence was shot down, though, as the Wallabies pack dominated and created spaces for the half-backs to exploit and set-up tries for Greg Martin, Lloyd Walker, Dominic Maguire and Scott Gourley in a 30-12 victory.

The Lions then played ACT and were down 21-11 but came back to win 41-25 but were widely criticised for their physical style.

That display was a microcosm of what was to come. The Lions were determined not to let the criticism get to them and came out with an even more physical display.

Hell-bent on proving that they would stick to their ways, the very first scrum erupted into a brawl as the Lions' approach began paying dividends. Late tries from Hastings and Jeremy Guscott secured a brutal 19-12 win.

It was set-up to be a winner-takes-all in the final Test, with the Australians still smarting about the physicality they had to endure.

However, the game could not have been more the opposite. The Lions, marshalled by Hastings' ever-reliable boot, set about securing victory in a professional, and nervous, manner.

Ian Williams scored a try for the Wallabies that had been converted by Michael Lynagh, to go with his four penalties to give the Aussies 18 points.

Hastings went one better and despite missing a conversion, scored five penalties and contributing 15 points to his team's cause.

The match was eventually decided by an Ieuan Evans try which put the Lions one point up. An error from Aussie winger David Campese gifted the ball to the Welshman and he raced away to seal the narrowest of wins to clinch the series.


June 10 v Western Australia W 44-0 Western Australia June 14 v Australia B W 23-8
June 17 v Queensland W 19-15
June 21 v Queensland B W 30-6
June 24 v New South Wales W 23-21
June 27 v New South Wales B W 39-19
July 1 v Australia L 12-30
July 4 v ACT W 41-25
July 8 v Australia W 19-12
July 15 v Australia W 19-18
July 19 v NSW Counties W 72-13
July 23 v ANZAC XV W 19-15

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