Tuesday, May 20, 2008
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.
PLEASE NOTE: 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 .