Jim Telfer

Jim Telfer

Two tours, eight Tests

Two tours, eight Tests

(1966: 5 Tests; 1968: 3 Tests)
Coach 1983
Assistant coach 1997

Like his coaching partner Ian McGeechan, Jim Telfer is another Scottish great whose contribution to the Lions straddles both sides of the touchline.

The former Melrose back row man toured twice as a player, once as coach and on one further occasion as assistant to McGeechan.

Standing 6'2" tall and weighing almost 15 stone, Telfer made 22 appearances on his first Lions tour, in 1966, playing both on the flank and at No.8 and earning himself a reputation as a hard but fair adversary - on and off the field.

After the bloodbath at Canterbury, in which he had captained the tourists, he defied orders and told the post-match function exactly what he felt about the foul play his team had faced, setting alight an issue that embroiled even the country's Governor General before burning itself out.

The doyen of New Zealand rugby writers, Terry McLean, wrote of the Scot: "He was one of those men of character who are so invaluable on tour because they can always be relied upon not only always to play when wanted but also to play pretty well."

In 1968, Telfer was hampered by injury but still led the Lions pack in more than half the tour's 20 matches. His forthright style again earned him the respect of the opposition, no more so than in the midst of the defensive effort that earned the tourists a 6-6 draw in the second Test.

As coach, however, a punishing itinerary, injury to key players and superior opposition limited what Telfer could achieve in 1983, although his team were not disgraced in any of the first three internationals before being swept away in the fourth, by a record 38-6.

In 1997, though, Telfer was at the heart of the Lions' 2-1 defeat of South Africa, devising the forward tactics that allowed the comparatively diminutive touring pack to get the better of the monster Springbok eight.

Success was not achieved without the Telfer grit, however, applied most famously in a forwards' training session following the defeat by Northern Transvaal that, as captain Martin Johnson, put it, "made grown men cry".

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