Thursday Jul 26, 2012 A look back at the successful 1997 British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa

A look back at the successful 1997 British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa
31
Comments

There’s just under a year to go until the next British & Irish Lions tour, which as we all know will take place in Australia. Total Rugby recently took a look back at what happened on the last successful Lions tour, which was 15 years ago in South Africa.

As with the 2009 tour, The British & Irish Lions of 1997 travelled to South Africa to take on the World Champions in their own backyard. The series will always be remembered for that moment of brilliance from Jeremy Guscott, a late dropgoal that sealed the win in the second Test.

“The Lions have provided most of my best moments in rugby, but that 1997 tour will always have pride of place. Nothing I could ever do will match the achievement of that tour, even if you rolled up all the Grand Slams, cup finals and league titles into one,” Guscott said.

“If you’d seen me spraying drop-kicks all over the pitch in training during the previous week off the outside of my foot, off the inside of my foot, off the end of my toes you would have bet as much money on me putting it over as you would on a one-legged man in a backside-kicking competition.

“The moment is frozen in time in my memory. Probably because freezing was what was most on my mind. As the ball drifted towards me through the arc of the floodlights everything seemed to happen in slow-motion. I prayed it wouldn’t miss. I prayed it wouldn’t be charged down.

“The sense of elation I felt when I eventually looked up and saw the drop soar between the posts will stay with me forever,” he added.

In 2013 the Lions face a different challenge as they take on the Wallabies, a team currently ranked 2nd in the world. As we saw with a strong Wales side recently, it will be tight, but at the end of the series it’s the results that matter.

With the correct management team and player selection, the 2013 British & Irish Lions will have a good chance, but as Fran Cotton and Jim Telfer explain in the video below, to win a Lions series down south you have to have everything working for you, including the mental edge.

– What is your favourite memory from the 1997 tour?
– If you could pick the 2013 Lions side today, who would you choose?

    31 Comments

    •  gunshowmckenzie
      gunshowmckenzie

      I have to say, I think people sell Lydiate short. He always plays well for Wales, and I agree with you that Ferris is a better ball carrier (stronger, probably faster too) but I think the last six nations showed that Lydiate is a ferocious tackler.

      Reply
    •  loosegoose
      loosegoose

      Yeah i agree with the idea that Murray has not fulfilled his potential. And maybe starting 9 is a rash choice but i feel like Philips is just too selfish a player for me. In terms of Jim Hamilton, i really think that he has proven himself in recent years in the international game that he can outplay the best. And i also dont really think that there are many better option at all! Perhaps Botha or Charteris? Ross Rennie is a bloody class act and a consistant performer who has proven that he can play in a team that did beat Australia recently. Laidlaw i am peronally not a huge fan of but he can bring a player onto the ball and i believe his versatllity would make him a strong touring candidate. In terms of Owen Farrel, i too believed he has been far too over-hyped by the English media (Next Jonny Wilkinson chat is ridiculous). I think he lacks serious flare as a 10 but as a playmaking 12 with the likes of strong runners like North, Tuilangi, Visser and Bowe outside i think he could fit in well. I am a strong believer that one of your centres should be able to distribute. I think a Robert/Tuilangi combo would be terrible espcially against centres like Mccabe or Faingaa who are defensively minded players who really would not mind being run at all day.

      Reply
    •  reality
      reality

      You have some decent Scottish players, there, but you also have some not-so-decent ones. Ross Ford - fair enough, although he wouldn't be my first choice Richie Gray - definitely yes Jim Hamilton - really? He's a bit of an oaf, don't you think? I think there are many, many better options Ross Rennie - he's ok but I'd hardly says he's one of the best around Dave Denton - you're right; he's been very good Greg Laidlaw - he's been all right in attack, but he is such a Ronan O'Gara in defence; teams constantly steamroll over him Tim Visser - can't complain there Stuart Hogg - rash, yet a very interesting choice Regarding your 15, I disagree with Murray. I wouldn't mind him being the second choice, but realistically, Philips, even if he seems like a complete knob, is the best around. Also, Owen Farrel at 12 is crazy in my opinion. He's been hyped up far too much by the English media, like countless other English players before him.

      Reply
    •  loosegoose
      loosegoose

      1. Cian Healy 2. Best/Ford- neither of which compare to Stephen Moore or Polota Nau 3. Dan Cole 4. Richie Gray 5. POC 6. Ferris 7. Warburton/Rennie 8. Heaslip 9. Conor Murray -Cannot understand why i am potentially the first to mention him! 10. Jonny Sexton 11. Tommy Bowe 12. Owen Farrel/ Jamie Roberts(or George North if he does play there this year) 13. Manu Tuilangi/BOD 14. George North/Tim Visser 15. Rob Kearney My centres are dependant on combinations. Would have farrel at 12 if Tuilangi played at 13. Depends where they want to put their steamrollers. As a Scot i would also like to put a section in which i put the Scot who should go on tour. Please comment if you agree/disagree: 1. Ross Ford 2. Richie Gray 3. Jim Hamilton 4. Ross Rennie 5.Dave Denton 6. Greg Laidlaw 7. Tim Visser 8. Stuart Hogg (Rash)

      Reply
    •  conorl
      conorl

      1. Healy (Jenkins is still world class, but by this time next year Healy will have overtaken him, if he hasn't already, as the premier loose-head in the NH) 2. Ford 3. Cole 4. Gray 5. O'Connell 6. O'Brien 7. Warburton 8. Denton/Heaslip/Morgan/Faletau/Anyone else you care to name. (Seriously, nobody has even come close to really nailing down this position.) 9. Youngs 10. Sexton 11. North 12. Roberts 13. O'Driscoll (if he's still playing)/Davies 14. Bowe 15. Kearney (On current form, I honestly can't see how anyone could even consider Halfpenny over him. If Wales had an outhalf who could kick worth a damn Halfpenny wouldn't be nearly as highly rated.)

      Reply
    • 1. Cian Healy 2. Dylan Hartley 3. Adam Jones 4. Richy Gray/Courtney Lawes 5. Paul O'Connell 6. Stephen Ferris/Sean O'Brien (I'm Irish, can't decide!) 7. Sam Warburton 8. Jamie Heaslip/Faletau/Morgan/Denton 9. Ben Youngs/Mike Phillips 10. Jonny Sexton 11. Geroge North 12. Jamie Roberts 13. Brian O'Driscoll 14. Tommy Bowe 15. Rob Kearney Bench: 16. R.Best 17. D.Cole the others mostly have options above, in the backs would have Laidlaw for versatility, J Davies and Halfpenny. People talking up Tipuric and Visser I feel are being very premature, neither have proved themselves internationally. At the end of the day though, as with all Lions tours , form will be the most important factor when it comes to selection

      Reply
    •  facepalm
      facepalm

      Oops! Good spot there.

      Reply
    •  rugby08
      rugby08

      Hey you never know! I'm wishing him all the best at London Welsh, granted he won't have much chance to shine since they'll be at the bottom of the table all year but all he has to do is the basics.

      Reply
    •  rugby08
      rugby08

      If you're not picking Tuilagi at 12 because he's not much of a passer, why have you chosen Roberts? He can't pass a rugby ball to save his life

      Reply
    •  hingwy24
      hingwy24

      15 Rob Kearney 14 George North 13 Manu Tuilagi (maybe Jonathan Davies) 12 Jamie Roberts 11 Tim Visser (assuming he continues to bring club form into test games, otherwise Bowe or Ashton) 10 Jonathan Sexton 9 Ben Youngs 8 David Denton 7 Ross Rennie (unless Warburton returns to form) 6 Stephen Ferris 5 Richie Gray 4 Donnacha Ryan 3 Dan Cole 2 Rory Best (Ross Ford if he sorts out his throwing by then) 1 Cian Healy Wouldn't pick Tuilagi at 12 because he's not much of a passer and they're going to need a decent distributor against the Wallabies. Also can't for the life of me understand the amount of people on here and elsewhere picking Faletau, the guy has been inconspicuous for a No.8 for ages now, and even on form he's nothing special!

      Reply
    •  stroudos
      stroudos

      "12.Ashley Beck (Don't call me crazy! But i think he could take the Wales 12 jersey, and from then on who knows)" Surely Gavin Henson will be wearing the Wales 12 jersey this season... ;-)

      Reply
    •  stroudos
      stroudos

      Nice. Fair play for being the first so far to include Corbisiero, who in my opinion is awesome and arguably the most under-rated player in world rugby. (BTW you've got him and Cole the wrong way round position-wise, but I'd like to see them both on the tour anyway).

      Reply
    •  stroudos
      stroudos

      "12. George North (I think he might get quite a lot of game time at centre this season, and be rather good at it!)" Where did you hear that? Would be interesting to see, for sure.

      Reply
    •  stroudos
      stroudos

      Both are very good players in my opinion - I'm neutral in every sense and would be happy to see either/both playing for the Lions. I don't think Lydiate is any way anonymous in matches, but I would understand people not seeing much of him. He's always in amongst the mass of bodies, smashing players, clearing rucks, securing quick ball - all the essential behind-the-scenes stuff that's inconspicuous when it's done well but see the negative impact on the whole team if it's not done well.

      Reply
    •  stroudos
      stroudos

      You're not Scottish by any chance are you Rory!? Not that I'd object to the Scottish players you mention - in fact Gray and Denton are conspicuous by their absence in the majority of the other picks on here so far.

      Reply
    •  rugby08
      rugby08

      I'd love to see Jonathan Joseph outside of Roberts, but early days he hasn't shown that much for England yet.

      Reply
    •  rugby08
      rugby08

      1.Cian Healy 2.Rory Best 3.Dan Cole (Adam Jones needs to up his work rate to make the test team) 4.Richie Gray 5.Alun-Wyn Jones 6.Stephen Ferris 7.Justin Tipuric 8.David Denton 9.Ben Youngs 10.Johnny Sexton (Needs to start playing well for Ireland, not just Leinster) 11.George North 12.Ashley Beck (Don't call me crazy! But i think he could take the Wales 12 jersey, and from then on who knows) 13.Manu Tuilagi (BOD's past it, we can do better) 14.Tommy Bowe 15.Rob Kearney

      Reply
    •  rugby08
      rugby08

      WelshOsprey, Shut up i'm a Welsh supporter and even i can see that Ferris is a superior player to Lydiate. All that Lydiate does at the moment is tackle and clear out, against Australia we will need more than that. Facepalm, You obviously should watch him for Ulster he is an excellent player, when on form right up there with the best in the world.

      Reply
    •  facepalm
      facepalm

      Yes, you are definitely wrong in saying that. Ferris is a good player but not the best in Britain & Ireland and certainly not "by a country mile". I feel he offers very little at the breakdown and at international level he seems to have many 'off-games'. Upon saying that I haven't really seen him play at Ulster so maybe I need watch him play there to understand the hype.

      Reply
    •  facepalm
      facepalm

      The slash indicates my second choice in that position. My view will almost certainly change by next year. 1) Cole/Healy 2) Best/Ford 3) Corbisiero/Jenkins 4) Gray/Charteris 5) Lawes/Croft 6) Lydiate/Haskell 7) Waburton (C) /Robshaw 8) Falatau/Denton 9) Youngs/Care 10) Sexton/Laidlaw 11) North/Ashton 12) Tuilagi/Roberts 13) Davies/Williams 14) Cuthbert/ Foden 15) Kearney/ Halfpenny Ok, so maybe as an Englishmen I've been slightly bias here. But I see that as a team to be reckoned with. On a side note... I'm not convinced by the amount of people choosing an Irish backrow. Heaslip and O'Brien certainly don't get my vote. I'm also pretty baffled by the amount of people who choose Owen Farrel. He was shocking in South Africa and hardly inspiring in the 6N.

      Reply
    •  silasvb
      silasvb

      1. Cian Healy 2. Ross Ford 3. Adam Jones 4. Richie Gray 5. Ryan Jones/Courtney Lawes (or another tall back-row hiding as a lock. Against an underpowered Aussie scrum I think having a mobile lock will be a necessity) 6. Sean O'Brien 7. Sam Warburton 8. Dave Denton 9. Ben Youngs 10. Jonathan Sexton 11. Tim Visser 12. George North (I think he might get quite a lot of game time at centre this season, and be rather good at it!) 13. Brian O'Driscol 14. Chris Ashton 15. Lee Halfpenny BENCH 16. Dylan Hartley 17. Dan Cole 18. Alun Wyn Jones 19. Justin Tipuric 20. Manu Tuilangi 21. Owen Farrell 22. Rob Kearney

      Reply
    •  welshosprey
      welshosprey

      lol you're insane

      Reply
    •  ratirugbier95
      ratirugbier95

      1.Cyan Healy (IRE) 2.Rory Best (IRE) 3.Adam Jones (WAL) 4.Paul O'Connell (IRE) 5.Richie Gray (SCO) 6.Sean O'Brien (IRE) 7.Sam Warburton (WAL) 8.David Denton (SCO) ----------------------------------------- 9.Ben Youngs (ENG) 10.Rhys Priestland (WAL) 12.Jamie Roberts (WAL) 13.Manu Tuilagi (ENG) 11.George North (WAL) 14.Chris Ashton (ENG) 15.Rob Kearney (IRE)

      Reply
    •  reality
      reality

      The lack of Stephen Ferris on people's teams is quite disturbing. Am I wrong in saying that he's by a country mile the best blindside in Britain and Ireland? I think Lydiate is so anonymous during matches. I mean, Ferris is stronger, faster, a better ball-carrier, a better tackler...need I go on?

      Reply
    • 15 Kearney, Foden, Scottish boy 14 Visser (has to be, ask Fiji) Ashton 13 BOD or Manu (maybe a dethroning?) 12 I'd play Manu here, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts 10 Sexton, Welsh boy 11 North, Cuthbert 9 Blair, Youngs, Phillips 8 Denton, Heaslip, Obrien (cover flank) 7 Warburton, Rennie 6 Robshaw, Lydiate 5 Gray, 4 POC 3 Adam Jones, Cole 2 Best, Ford 1 Jenkins, Healy Manager: Me

      Reply
    •  eggman
      eggman

      1 Cian Healy 2 Rory Best 3 Dan Cole (Adam Jones seems to be past his best, so I'd probably give Cole the nod. Close one though 4 Richie Gray 5 O'Connol / Allyn Wyn Jones (depending on injuries, tending towards O'Connel though 6 Sean O'Brien or Ferris, depending on form. Both on the tour though, one as replacement 7 Warburton if fit, otherwise Robshaw. However plays should be captain 8 Falatau or Morgan, depending on Six Nations form 9 Ben Youngs 10 Johnny Sexton 11 George North 12 Roberts if fit, otherwise Tuilagi 13 O'Driscol if fit, otherwise Tuilagi 14 Cuthbert 15 Kearney. The only reason I'd give Halfpenny the nod over Kearney is his kicking. However Sexton's already a fantastic kicker. I might choose Halfpenny if both Sexton and Farrel were to be injured (very unlikely though)

      Reply
    •  reality
      reality

      I'm going to go for an Irish-centred team, but I actually think they're the best players; I'm not meaning to be biased: 1. Cian Healy - best loosehead in the world in my opinion; can do everything excellently 2. Rory Best - has been simply fantastic since the WC, and there's no one else decent in Britain or Ireland anyway 3. Adam Jones/Dan Cole 4. Richie Grey 5. Paul O'Connell - assuming that he's not injured 6. Ferris - by far the best in Europe; Dan Lydiate is actually inferior in every way 7. Robshaw - I don't think he's great, but Warburton has been a bit crap, and who else is there? 8. Heaslip/Morgan - Heaslip has been very good lately after a bad patch; Morgan is a bit of a donkey, but he's effective 9. Mike Philips 10. Sexton - Farrell had a good first few games, but he's not Sexton, and neither is Flood 11. North/Bowe 12. Roberts - if he's on form 13. Tuilagi 14. Bowe/North 15. Kearney - the thought of Halfpenney playing there and being better than Kearney is just laughable to me

      Reply
    •  bowhay
      bowhay

      1. Cian Healy 2. Ross Ford 3. Adam Jones 4. Alyn Wyn Jones 5. Richie Gray 6. Sean O'Brien 7. Sam Warburton 8. David Denton (great ball-carrier) 9. Ben Youngs 10. Jonny Sexton 11. George North 12. Manu Tuilagi 13. Brian O'Driscoll 14. Tim Visser (great finisher) 15. Rob Kearney Bit of Scottish bias but this team could do well

      Reply
    •  gunshowmckenzie
      gunshowmckenzie

      1. Cian Healy (Gethin's great too, think Healy's a better ball carrier). 2. Ross Ford (everyone else is saying Ross Ford, I think hooker's up for grabs) 3. Adam Jones 4. Alun Wyn Jones (maybe Luke Charteris) 5. Richie Gray 6. Dan Lydiate (Welsh bias! Hard choice, could see Ferris or O'Brien starting potentially) 7. Sam Warburton (on form, if not O'Brien or Tipuric) 8. Ryan Jones or Ben Morgan (Faletau anonymous in Aus I thought, Heaslip is good too) 9. Ben Youngs (Mike Phillips if you want someone to start incidents!) 10. Johnny Sexton 11. George North 12. Manu Tuilagi (Jamie Roberts if on form, think he's better defensively) 13. Jon Davies (controversial, but I really rate him. O'Driscoll possibly) 14. Tommy Bowe 15. Rob Kearney or Leigh Halfpenny, both playing really well.

      Reply
    •  barryt
      barryt

      1. Cian Healy 2. Ross Ford 3. Dan Cole 4. Paul O'Connell 5. Richie Gray 6. Sam Warburton 7. Sean O'Brien 8. Jamie Heaslip 9. Ben Youngs 10. Johnny Sexton 11. George North 12. Manu Tuilagi 13. Brian O'Driscoll 14. Leigh Halfpenny 15. Rob Kearney Picking the backrow was the toughest part, gonna be an interesting selection!

      Reply
    •  welshosprey
      welshosprey

      1- Gethin Jenkins 2- Ross Ford 3- Adam Jones 4- Alyn Wyn Jones 5- Richie Gray 6- Dan Lydiate 7- Justin Tipuric 8- Jamie Heaslip 9- Ben Youngs 10- Owen Farrell 11- George North 12- Manu Tuilagi 13- Brian O'Driscoll (c) 14- Tommy Bowe 15- Rob Kearney That'd be my team on current form anyway

      Reply

    Great Tries

    View All

    Big Hits & Dirty Play

    View All

    See It To Believe It

    View All

    Funnies

    View All

    Training Videos

    View All

    Player Features

    View All
    A look back at the successful 1997 British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa | RugbyDump