1955 | South Africa

Lions Team 1955 South AfricaThe 1950 Lions had re-established the profile of the touring team after a 12-year absence caused by the Second World War. Their 1955 successors, however, bettered even that by taking their popularity to unprecedented heights - and exploding the concept of Springbok invincibility to boot.

Captained and managed by the Northern Irish pairing of Robin Thompson and Jack Siggins, the tourists possessed a back division arguably even more talented than their forebears of 1950. And from the moment Cliff Morgan led the party in half-an-hour of song for the crowds who turned out to meet them at Johannesburg airport, they captured the imagination and hearts of their hosts like no Lions before or since.

Wales outside half Morgan, fed by the uncapped English scrum half Dickie Jeeps, was the creative gem of the 1955 backline, while the finisher extraordinaire was Ireland wing Tony O'Reilly, who turned 19 on tour and ran in a record 16 tries in all.

Between these two were the ideal link-men in the England centre pairing of Jeff Butterfield and Phil Davies.The pack boasted an all-Welsh front row in Billy Williams, Bryn Meredith and Courtenay Meredith, another Welsh giant behind them in Rhys Williams and Scottish great Jim Greenwood in the back row, but was never built to take on the muscular Springboks up front.

Instead, open rugby, with all possession to be run directly regardless of quality, was the tourists' creed. Thrillingly, it earned them the best Lions record in the country since 1896 and produced a remarkable 26 tries in the four-match Test series.

The first of those internationals went down as one of the greatest ever played, with the Lions winning 23-22, thanks to tries from Cecil Pedlow, Butterfield, Morgan, Greenwood and O'Reilly - and, ultimately, a missed conversion in injury-time by South Africa full-back Jack van der Schyff.

The Lions felt the Springbok backlash in the second Test, with Tom van Vollenhoven scoring a hat-trick in a 25-9 revenge, only for the Lions - for once tightening up their game - to win the third international 9-6. Facing their first home series defeat in more than half a century, South Africa threw everything they had at the Lions in the fourth Test and outscored them by five tries to two. Their 22-8 defeat meant the tourists had to share the series, but their place in history was already secure.

22/06/1955
Western Transvaal
Western Transvaal 9-6 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Western Transvaal
Western Transvaal
Olen Park
25/06/1955
Griqualand West
Griqualand West 14-24 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Griqualand West
Griqualand West
De Beers Stadium
29/06/1955
Transvaal Universities
Transvaal Universities 6-32 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Transvaal Universities
Transvaal Universities
Ellis Park
02/07/1955
Orange Free State
Orange Free State 3-31 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Orange Free State
Orange Free State
Loubser Park
05/07/1955
South West Africa
South West Africa 0-9 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A South West Africa
South West Africa
Mable Volk Ground
09/07/1955
Western Province
Western Province 3-11 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Western Province
Western Province
Newlands
13/07/1955
South Western Districts
South Western Districts 3-22 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A South Western Districts
South Western Districts
Recreation Ground
16/07/1955
Eastern Province Kings
Eastern Province Kings 20-0 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Eastern Province Kings
Eastern Province Kings
Crusaders Ground
20/07/1955
North-East Districts
North-East Districts 6-34 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A North-East Districts
North-East Districts
Aliwal North
23/07/1955
Transvaal
Transvaal 13-36 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Transvaal
Transvaal
Ellis Park
27/07/1955
Rhodesia
Rhodesia 14-27 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhokana Ground
30/07/1955
Rhodesia
Rhodesia 12-16 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Police Ground
06/08/1955 15:15
South Africa
South Africa 22-23 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A South Africa
South Africa
Ellis Park
10/08/1955
Central Universities
Central Universities 14-21 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Central Universities
Central Universities
Kingsmead
13/08/1955
Boland
Boland 0-11 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Boland
Boland
Wellington
16/08/1955
Western Province Universities
Western Province Universities 17-20 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Western Province Universities
Western Province Universities
Newlands
20/08/1955 15:00
South Africa
South Africa 25-9 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A South Africa
South Africa
Newlands
24/08/1955
Eastern Transvaal
Eastern Transvaal 17-17 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Eastern Transvaal
Eastern Transvaal
PAM Stadium
27/08/1955
N-E Transvaal
N-E Transvaal 11-14 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A N-E Transvaal
N-E Transvaal
Loftus Versfeld
03/09/1955 15:45
South Africa
South Africa 6-9 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A South Africa
South Africa
Loftus Versfeld
10/09/1955
Natal
Natal 8-11 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Natal
Natal
Kingsmead
14/09/1955
Junior Springboks
Junior Springboks 12-15 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Junior Springboks
Junior Springboks
Free State Stadium
17/09/1955
Border Bulldogs
Border Bulldogs 14-12 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A Border Bulldogs
Border Bulldogs
BRU Ground
24/09/1955 15:30
South Africa
South Africa 22-8 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A South Africa
South Africa
Crusaders Ground
28/09/1955
East Africa
East Africa 12-39 British & Irish Lions
British & Irish Lions
A East Africa
East Africa
Ngong Road Ground
SurnameFirst namePlayedPointsLast appearance
BakerDoug162128/09/1955
ButterfieldJeff213009/09/1959
CameronAngus94420/08/1955
DaviesPhil142417/09/1955
ElliotTom00//
ElliottTom8028/09/1955
GreenwoodJim16924/09/1955
GriffithsGareth12928/09/1955
HigginsReg9306/08/1955
JeepsDickie421325/08/1962
LloydTrevor6828/09/1955
McLeodHugh34729/09/1959
MeredithBryn412725/08/1962
MeredithCourtenay14024/09/1955
MichieErnie11328/09/1955
MorganCliff152128/09/1955
MorrisHaydn82710/08/1955
O'ReillyTony3811429/09/1959
PedlowCecil135828/09/1955
QuinnPat122128/09/1955
ReidTom12317/09/1955
RobinsRuss18624/09/1955
RoeRobin11314/09/1955
SmithArthur196618/08/1962
SykesFrank142717/09/1955
ThomasAlun51517/09/1955
ThomasClem10328/09/1955
ThompsonRobin15328/09/1955
WilliamsBilly17028/09/1955
WilliamsJohnny81510/09/1955
WilliamsRhys38329/09/1959
WilsonTug15928/09/1955
Overall Stats
Played25Biggest Win31 - 3 (British & Irish Lions v Cheetahs 1955)
Total Points Scored457Most Points In A Match39 (British & Irish Lions v East Africa 1955)
Total Tries Scored105Most Tries In A Match11 (British & Irish Lions v East Africa 1955)
Total Conversions Scored50Most Conversions In A Match6 (British & Irish Lions v Golden Lions 1955)
Total Penalty Goals Scored13Most Penalty Goals In A Match2 (British & Irish Lions v Transvaal Universities 1955)
Total Drop Goals Scored1Most Drop Goals In A Match1 (British & Irish Lions v South Africa 1955)
Most Appearances9 (Dan Cole)Highest Attendance90,000
Top Points Scorer114 (Leigh Halfpenny)Total Home Attendance551,000
Top Try Scorer4 (Alex Cuthbert)
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