The British & Irish Lions 2013 tour starts this weekend with a historic match against the Barbarians in Hong Kong. Today we look back to 1977 when the two famous sides met at Twickenham as part of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebration.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s game, Lions centre Jamie Roberts was relishing the occasion.
“It’s a massive exhibition match for the game of rugby. For probably the two most famous invitational teams in world rugby to come together and play each other is quite unique. It hasn’t happened many times in our history, and to have it in a setting such as Hong Kong is going to be amazing. For the rugby watching world, it’s such a huge event,” said Roberts.
In 1977 the two sides came together following the Lions’ tour of New Zealand. The match was billed as a charity fund-raiser, and indeed over £100 000 was raised, but it was a serious contest.
It was the Lions’ first official home match and just three weeks after their 26 match tour, so they were match fit, and at full strength. The Barbarians featured Welshmen JPR Williams, Gerald Davies and Gareth Edwards, as well as the French Grand Slam winning loose trio of Jean-Pierre Rives, Jean-Claude Skrela and Jean Pierre Bastiat.
Andy Irvine, Peter Squires, Steve Fenwick, Ian McGeechan, Gareth Evans, Phil Bennett, Dougie Morgan, Fran Cotton, Peter Wheeler, Graham Price, Bill Beaumont, Gordon Brown, Derick Quinnell, Willie Duggan, Tony Neary
JPR Williams, Gerald Davies, Ray Gravell, Charles Kent, Dave McKay, David Richards, Gareth Edwards, Barry Nelmes, Duncan Madsen, Mike Knill, Bob Wilkinson, G.A.D Wheel, Jean-Pierre Rives, Jean-Claude Skrela, Jean Pierre Bastiat
It was a fantastic game of rugby, with both sides having a full go and the Lions winning 23-14.