The British & Irish Lions

Tour to New Zealand 2017

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

Willie John McBride

Willie John McBride.

DOB6th Jun 1940
BirthplaceToomebridge, County Antrim
Height1.90 m
Weight102 kg
PositionLock
HonoursIreland / Lions

Five tours, 17 Tests

(1962: 2 Tests; 1966: 3 Tests; 1968: 4 Tests; 1971: 4 Tests; 1974: 4 Tests)

Captain 1974

Manager 1983

Of all the Lions down the years, one individual stands out. Fittingly, he is also the man who perhaps best personified their famous team spirit: Willie John McBride, five-times tourist and leader of the most successful pride of the lot.

The rough-hewn lock from Ballymena played 17 Lions Tests in all, although he had to endure nine successive defeats before being on a winning side. And when the victories began to come, they did so with a giant McBride hand on the tiller: as pack leader in New Zealand in 1971 and as captain of the side that swept all before it in South Africa in 1974.

McBride had reached his late teens without so much as picking up a rugby ball. By the time he was 21 he was an Ireland international and a full-grown Lion, playing in the third and fourth Tests in South Africa in 1962.

The Ulsterman was not alone in considering the 1966 tour as "the most unhappy period of my rugby life" as the Lions suffered their first 4-0 whitewash in New Zealand . However, the experience of playing in all four Tests against the Springboks two years later went some way towards banishing those memories and gave McBride some faith in the prospect of better times ahead.

In New Zealand in 1971, those good times began to roll as McBride began to assume the leadership role in which he became so successful, taking charge of the pack when his countryman Ray McLoughlin suffered a broken thumb that ended his tour prematurely.

Like the Lions themselves, McBride's finest hour came in South Africa in 1974, where he led the tourists unbeaten through a 22-match programme.

McBride's leadership was inspirational and protective in equal measure; "we take no prisoners" his catchphrase that encapsulated the team spirit bonding the entire squad, as did his infamous "99" call that brought 14 Lions to the rescue of any one who was in trouble.

Wherever the Lions are known, Willie John remains the leader of the pride.

Current Season Stats

Date Opposition Tries Conv DG Pen YC RC Pts Mins
15/05/1974
Western Transvaal








23/05/1974
Boland
1





4

29/05/1974
South Western Districts








01/06/1974
Western Province








08/06/1974
South Africa








15/06/1974
Transvaal








22/06/1974
South Africa








29/06/1974
Orange Free State








06/07/1974
N-E Transvaal








09/07/1974
African XV








13/07/1974
South Africa








20/07/1974
Natal








27/07/1974
South Africa








Total Played 13 1
0
0
0
0
0
4
0

Previous Season Stats

CompetitionTeamPlayedTriesConvDGPenYCRCPts
1973-1974 - British & Irish Lions Tour
British & Irish Lions
13
1





4
1973-1974 Total

13
1





4
1970-1971 - British & Irish Lions Tour
British & Irish Lions
14







1970-1971 Total

14







1967-1968 - British & Irish Lions Tour
British & Irish Lions
11
1





3
1967-1968 Total

11
1





3
1965-1966 - British & Irish Lions Tour
British & Irish Lions
21
1





3
1965-1966 Total

21
1





3
1961-1962 - British & Irish Lions Tour
British & Irish Lions
11
1





3
1961-1962 Total

11
1





3
Total - British & Irish Lions Tour

70
4





13
Total

70
4
0
0
0
0
0
13
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