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Bev Risman

One tour, four Tests, 1959

One tour, four Tests, 1959

Bev Risman played only three seasons of international rugby union before following his famous Welsh father, Gus, into league, but crammed a lifetime's brilliance into his lone Lions tour of 1959. Risman was just 21 when he made his England debut that year, and instantly played his way into the Lions team with the perfect technique, vision, kicking ability and mesmeric running that marked him out as the complete outside half.

The Manchester University student confirmed that impression in Australia and New Zealand , where he stood out in all conditions and was the prime influence on a back division in which Tony O'Reilly broke and Peter Jackson equalled the record for most tries scored by a visiting player. In Australia, Risman's father's legacy as a league tourist there made him the star turn wherever the Lions went, despite the management forbidding him from 'fraternising with the enemy' by attending a lunch in Gus's honour.

On the pitch he lived up to that billing, gliding over the firm grounds to score a try in the record second Test victory and create another in the first international for Ken Smith with a 40-yard break.

In New Zealand, he was even more impressive as a creator, and his loss with a chipped ankle bone from the middle section of that leg of the tour was the biggest blow the Lions suffered. Risman conjured up the first two of the tourists' four tries in the infamous opening international against the All Blacks - which the Lions lost to a world record six Don Clarke penalties - beginning with a clean break from a scrum and then flummoxing Clarke with a perfect cross-kick.

His injury kept him out of the second and third Tests but he returned to show his best form in the final game of the rubber, in which the visitors finally got the win their adventure deserved. With the scores level at 6-6 and the Lions winning a scrum 40 yards out, Risman raced round onto the blindside to take scrum-half Andy Mulligan's superb reverse pass, side-stepped the final defender and dived over the line ahead of the covering Clarke. Risman had sealed his place in Lions history and in New Zealand rugby hearts.

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