The British & Irish Lions

Tour to New Zealand 2017

HSBC | Principal Partner | British & Irish Lions | Tour to Australia 2013

Mike Gibson

Mike Gibson

DOB3rd Dec 1942
BirthplaceBelfast
Height1.80 m
Weight81 kg
PositionCentre / wing
HonoursIreland / Lions

Five tours, 12 Tests, 1966-77

(1966: 4 Tests; 1968: 4 Tests; 1971: 4 Tests)

Mike Gibson was always a rugby perfectionist. Luckily for the Lions, he was also good enough to meet his own exacting standards.

The Irish lawyer's all-round talent marked him out as arguably the greatest centre of any era. His ability to sustain his standards of performance across five Lions tours should settle the debate.

Gibson's brilliance lay in the perception and timing of his attacking play, the focus and anticipation of his defence, and the rare dedication and commitment with which he applied himself across a 15-year international career in which he appeared in a world record 81 Tests.

The Cambridge University and North of Ireland player took his first two tours, in 1966 and '68, as learning experiences. In the second of those expeditions, to South Africa, he made history in the opening Test by becoming the first replacement in international rugby, and showed his stamina by playing in 11 of the final 13 matches after Barry John had been invalided out of the tour.

Like many of his Lions colleagues, Gibson enjoyed his finest hour in New Zealand in 1971, when he formed the perfect midfield trio outside John at fly-half and alongside captain John Dawes in the centre.

The New Zealand crowds loved his attacking flair and the All Blacks had no answer to his timing, exemplified in the second Test when his split-second taking of a pass from JPR Williams and giving of a scoring one to Gerald Davies flying up outside destroyed an entire defence in an instant.

Work commitments meant Gibson could only join the 1974 tour as a replacement during its second half, and he displayed a remarkable lack of ego in willingly playing understudy to the new Test pairing of Ian McGeechan and Dick Milliken.

Willie John McBride's record of five tours was equalled in 1977, but back and hamstring problems meant Gibson was unable to compete for a Test place. The All Blacks must have breathed a heavy sigh of relief.

Current Season Stats

Date Opposition Tries Conv DG Pen YC RC Pts Mins
21/05/1977
Hawkes Bay








25/05/1977
Poverty Bay/East Coast








08/06/1977
Otago








11/06/1977
Southland
1





4

22/06/1977
S/Mid Canterbury/North Otago








29/06/1977
West Coast/Buller








05/07/1977
Marlborough/Nelson Bays

2

2


10

13/07/1977
New Zealand Maori
1


2


10

20/07/1977
New Zealand Juniors








03/08/1977
Counties/Thames Valley








09/08/1977
Bay of Plenty








Total Played 11 2
2
0
4
0
0
24
0

Previous Season Stats

CompetitionTeamPlayedTriesConvDGPenYCRCPts
1976-1977 - British & Irish Lions Tour
British & Irish Lions
11
2
2

4


24
1976-1977 Total

11
2
2

4


24
1973-1974 - British & Irish Lions Tour
British & Irish Lions
7
2
1




10
1973-1974 Total

7
2
1




10
1970-1971 - British & Irish Lions Tour
British & Irish Lions
16
5
1
1
1


28
1970-1971 Total

16
5
1
1
1


28
1967-1968 - British & Irish Lions Tour
British & Irish Lions
13 +1
4

4



24
1967-1968 Total

13 +1
4

4



24
1965-1966 - British & Irish Lions Tour
British & Irish Lions
20
9
1

3


38
1965-1966 Total

20
9
1

3


38
Total - British & Irish Lions Tour

67 +1
22
5
5
8


124
Total

67 +1
22
5
5
8
0
0
124
Lions Legends
Two tours, two Tests, 1989-1993
Tour Statistics

Tour Statistics

Statistical breakdowns for previous Lions tours
Previous Results

Previous Results

Tour results from 1888 to the present day for the British & irish Lions
Player Archive

Player Archive

The full list of every player to have worn the coveted British & Irish Lions jersey

Historical Features

© 2014 British Lions Ltd Privacy & Cookies delivered by Sotic powered by OpenText WSM