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Gordon Brown

Three tours, 8 Tests, 1971-77

Three tours, 8 Tests, 1971-77

(1971: 2 Tests; 1974: 3 Tests; 1977: 3 Tests)

Gordon Brown - or "Broon frae' Troon" as he was universally known - was one of the giants of Lions history, both physically and in spirit.

At 6'5" tall and weighing more than 16 stone, the Scotland second row was an obvious cornerstone of the Lions pack across three tours during the 1970s. But there was much more to his game than mere beef in the tight. In 1971, coach Carwyn James described him as the ideal all-round lock and, in South Africa three years later, he scored eight tries in 12 matches, a record for his position.

Two of those scores came in the international series and were crucial to the Lions' 3-0 defeat of the Springboks, particularly the try he pinched at the front of a lineout to nip the hosts' growing third Test revival in the bud.

But he was also a central figure off the field, a natural entertainer and raconteur, whose contribution to building the team spirit essential to the Lions success was immense. It was no surprise to his team-mates that he went on to become a renowned after-dinner speaker.

On his first tour, in 1971, Brown played his way into the Test side for the final two internationals, the latter of which saw his bravest performance in the red jersey, shedding blood for the cause to the extent that he needed a total of 20 stitches after taking a punch in a lineout and a raking in a ruck.

The West of Scotland man's value to the Lions was such that he still formed the bedrock of the 1977 pack a year after he had been discarded by his country. He died in 2001 after a typically brave battle against cancer.

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