The British & Irish Lions

Tour to New Zealand 2017

1962 | South Africa

Lions Team 1962 South AfricaThe fun of the 1950s was now over and, for the Lions, it was back to hard grind throughout the 1960s, beginning with their tour to South Africa in the second year of the decade.

With one eye on the means by which the Barbarians had succeeded against the Springboks the previous year, manager Brian Vaughan opted for a massive pack containing the likes of Syd Millar, Keith Rowlands and future captains Mike Campbell-Lamerton and Willie John McBride.

Unfortunately, and despite the retention of David Hewitt and Dickie Jeeps from 1959, as well as the inclusion as captain of 1955 tourists Arthur Smith, the backline lacked the verve and wit of its two immediate predecessors and never made the most of the possession the pack wrestled from a Springbok eight then at the peak of its powers.

The Lions won 16 and drew four of their 25 matches - which included easy wins over Rhodesia and East Africa at the start and finish of the tour - but could manage only a draw and three defeats in the Test series.

In the series opener, the two packs matched each other grunt for grunt and the game ended in a 3-3 draw as each side scored an outstanding try apiece, through John Gainsford for South Africa and Ken Jones for the Lions.

If anything, the Lions forwards edged the Springbok pack in the second international, but lost 3-0 to a late Keith Oxlee penalty and a controversial decision in the dying minutes, when Rowlands' apparent pushover try was not awarded by unsighted referee Ken Carlson.

With the series still in the balance, there was no margin for error in the third Test. Sadly, when a mistake was made, it came from the Lions' hand. Richard Sharp's attempt to start an attack from his own line backfired to give Oxlee a simple try and conversion that set up the Springboks for an 8-3 victory.

The fourth Test was decided by a South African purple patch shortly after half-time, during which they scored 13 points in just five minutes. There was no way back for the Lions and, although they scored tries through Ron Cowan, Rowlands and Campbell-Lamerton, they went down 34-14.

Jeeps captain the side in the final Test to mark his record breaking 13th international appearance for the Lions. He also overtook Frank Stout and Jack Jones by making 42 appearances in all games for the Lions on this his third successive tour.
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