1891 | South Africa

Lions Rugby 1891 South AfricaShaw and Shrewsbury's 1888 Australian adventure had been something of a mercenary mission; unsanctioned by the rugby authorities and funded mainly by novelty Aussie Rules matches. Three years later, though, the game's governors had fully embraced the concept of the overseas tour.

Invited to South Africa by the Western Province union and with all costs underwritten by the Cape Colony prime minister, Cecil Rhodes, the British tourists who headed south across the equator in 1891 did so as the first team to travel under the auspices of the Rugby Football Union.

The RFU's backing led to the 21-man party being billed as the English Rugby Football Team, although the fact it contained four Scots, including captain and wing Bill Maclagan, saw it given the British Isles tag retrospectively.

Maclagan's men played 20 matches, including, for the first time, Tests. At this stage, South African rugby at was not yet on a par with that of the Home Unions - although future British tourists would find they were quick to catch up - and the visitors saw off all-comers, scoring 224 points to one.

The star of the tour was England centre Randolph Littleton Aston, who used his 6'3" height and 15-stone bulk - as well as an impressive turn of speed - to power his way over the try-line 30 times in all.

The tourists won the three Tests by margins of 4-0, 3-0 and 4-0, scoring two tries in the first and third rubbers but needing a spectacular goal from a mark by Bill Mitchell to seal the second.

Having taken the catch wide out on halfway, the England full-back reportedly waved his captain's instructions away with the promise, "it's all right, Bill; I'll drop a goal", and duly kicked the only points of the game.

The tourists left one final legacy on their departure: the Currie Cup, a silver trophy presented to Griqualand West as the province producing the best performance they faced, and which remains South African rugby's biggest domestic prize.

09/07/1891
Cape Town
Cape Town 1-15 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Cape Town
Cape Town
Newlands
11/07/1891
Western Province
Western Province 0-6 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Western Province
Western Province
Newlands
13/07/1891
Cape Colony
Cape Colony 0-14 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Cape Colony
Cape Colony
Newlands
18/07/1891
Kimberley
Kimberley 0-7 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Kimberley
Kimberley
Kimberley
20/07/1891
Griqualand West
Griqualand West 0-3 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Griqualand West
Griqualand West
Kimberley
25/07/1891
Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth 0-22 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth
28/07/1891
Eastern Province Kings
Eastern Province Kings 0-21 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Eastern Province Kings
Eastern Province Kings
Crusaders Ground
30/07/1891 15:00
South Africa
South Africa 0-4 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A South Africa
South Africa
Crusaders Ground
01/08/1891
Grahamstown
Grahamstown 0-9 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Grahamstown
Grahamstown
Grahamstown
04/08/1891
King Williams Town
King Williams Town 0-18 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A King Williams Town
King Williams Town
King Williams Town
06/08/1891
King Williamstown & District
King Williamstown & District 0-16 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A King Williamstown & District
King Williamstown & District
King Williams Town
11/08/1891
Pietermaritzburg
Pietermaritzburg 0-25 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Pietermaritzburg
Pietermaritzburg
Pietermaritzburg
15/08/1891
Tranvaal Country Districts
Tranvaal Country Districts 0-22 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Tranvaal Country Districts
Tranvaal Country Districts
Johannesburg
19/08/1891
Johannesburg
Johannesburg 0-15 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg
22/08/1891
Transvaal
Transvaal 0-9 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Transvaal
Transvaal
Johannesburg
26/08/1891
Cape Colony
Cape Colony 0-4 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Cape Colony
Cape Colony
Kimberley
29/08/1891 15:00
South Africa
South Africa 0-3 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A South Africa
South Africa
Kimberley
03/09/1891
Cape Colony
Cape Colony 0-7 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Cape Colony
Cape Colony
Newlands
05/09/1891 15:00
South Africa
South Africa 0-4 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A South Africa
South Africa
Newlands
09/09/1891
Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch 0-2 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch
SurnameFirst namePlayedPointsLast appearance
AstonRandolph204409/09/1891
BrometEdward141009/09/1891
BrometWilliam19009/09/1891
ClaussPaul12905/09/1891
GouldJohn12009/09/1891
HammondJohnny27005/09/1896
HancockFroude33205/09/1896
JacksonWalter5006/08/1891
MacLaganBill19809/09/1891
MacMillanRobert20309/09/1891
MarshallHoward111009/09/1891
MayfieldEdwin15209/09/1891
MitchellWilliam202009/09/1891
RoscoeBert5319/08/1891
RotherhamArthur168105/09/1891
SimpsonClement10022/08/1891
SurteesAubone14009/09/1891
ThompsonRobert19709/09/1891
ThormanWilliam6025/07/1891
WhittakerThomas17709/09/1891
WotherspoonWilliam92209/09/1891
Overall Stats
Played20Biggest Win25 - 0 (British & Irish Lions v Pietermaritzburg 1891)
Total Points Scored226Most Points In A Match25 (British & Irish Lions v Pietermaritzburg 1891)
Total Tries Scored90Most Tries In A Match13 (British & Irish Lions v Pietermaritzburg 1891)
Total Conversions Scored50Most Conversions In A Match7 (British & Irish Lions v Eastern Province Kings 1891)
Total Penalty Goals Scored7Most Penalty Goals In A Match2 (British & Irish Lions v Cape Town 1891)
Total Drop Goals Scored7Most Drop Goals In A Match2 (British & Irish Lions v Cape Colony 1891)
Most Appearances9 (Dan Cole)Highest Attendance6,000
Top Points Scorer114 (Leigh Halfpenny)Total Home Attendance26,000
Top Try Scorer4 (Alex Cuthbert)
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