The Lions that toured Australia and New Zealand in 1950 will go down in history as some of the greatest tourists of them all.
The first post-Second World War Lions may have been beaten 3-0 by the All Blacks but they comfortably beat the Wallabies and returned home with their reputations enhanced.
Just as in 1930 when the Lions had last visited Australasia, fixtures in New Zealand dominated the tour.
The Lions were narrowly beaten 8-0, 6-3 and 11-8 by the All Blacks having drawn the first Test of the four-match series but they were widely regarded as the best side to have toured the Land of the Long White Cloud by the New Zealand public.
Their dazzling back play was hugely appreciated by the hoards that watched them play but, unfortunately, the Lions lacked the strength up front to defeat the All Blacks.
It was a different story in Australia, however, where the touring backline were given the platform to run riot.
The Lions scored 150 points in their six games in Oz, winning the first five before surprisingly losing their last match of the tour.
Those victories included a 47-3 thrashing of a New South Wales Combined Country side and convincing 19-6 and 24-3 Test wins in the two internationals they played against Australia.
A little bit of history
In the year that the Lions made their first overseas trip following the end of the Second World War, George VI had just two more years left on the throne; Harry Truman was a year into his second term as American President; the Korean War began; Karen Carpenter, Kenny Dalglish, Chris De Burgh, Lionel Richie and Bill Murray were all born but George Orwell passed away; Britain recognised the Communist government of China; the FBI began its '10 Most Wanted' fugitives programme; the first Farnborough Air Show took place; King Leopold returned to Belgium after six years in exile; the Peanuts cartoon featuring Charlie Brown and Snoopy first appeared in print and England were humiliated by the United States at the football World Cup.
The Lions arrived in Australia five years after the first Sydney to Hobart yacht race; a year after Australian citizenship was officially introduced (previously Australians had been subjects of Britain); the same year that Australians voted 'No' in a referendum that would have allowed the country's government to ban the Communist Party and four years before Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip visited Australia.
Did you know?
Lewis Jones became the first Lions replacement and the first Lion to travel by air.
The Llanelli full back was called up to the squad after George Norton broke his arm in the fifth game of the tour.
While the rest of the squad had travelled by sea, Jones made his way south on a plane, arriving in late June and featuring in the latter part of the New Zealand leg of the tour and the entirety of the trip to Australia.
Wales wing Ken Jones scored an incredible 16 tries in 16 games in New Zealand but injury prevented him from featuring in Australia.
Legendary Ireland fly-half Jack Kyle dazzled the host nations with his almost magical skills, while Bleddyn Williams and Jack Matthews took their form for club and country with them to the southern hemisphere as they formed a near-perfect centre partnership. Both Jones and Williams were recognised by the Rugby Almanack of New Zealand as among the five best players of the year alongside three All Blacks.
The 1950 Lions squad was the first in which every player had represented his country prior to departure.
All 30 original members of the squad, plus replacement Lewis Jones, had been capped at international level before wearing Lions colours - something that the Lions never came close to achieving during the pioneering early years of touring.
The tour was the first on which players from England didn't make up the majority of the party. Only three Englishmen made the tour alongside 14 Welshmen, nine Irishmen and five Scots. Having won the Grand Slam in 1950, Wales provided no fewer than nine players in each of the five Tests on tour.
The tour party was captained by DR Karl Mullen, the man who led Ireland to their first-ever Grand Slam two years earlier.
The squad's vice-captain was Williams, the Prince of Centres who would later captain both Cardiff and Wales to victory over the All Blacks.
Mullen acted as forwards coach, while Williams and Matthews coached the backs.
WB Cleaver - Cardiff and Wales
BL Jones - Llanelli and Wales
GW Norton - Bective Rangers and Ireland
NJ Henderson - Queen's University Belfast and Ireland
KJ Jones - Newport and Wales
MF Lane - University College Cork and Ireland
R Macdonald - Edinburgh University and Scotland
J Matthews - Cardiff and Wales
DWC Smith - London Scottish and Scotland
MC Thomas - Newport and Wales
BL Williams - Cardiff and Wales
AW Black - Edinburgh University and Scotland
JW Kyle - Queen's University Belfast and Ireland
I Preece - Coventry and England
G Rimmer - Waterloo and England
WR Willis - Cardiff and Wales
GM Budge - Edinburgh Wanderers and Scotland
T Clifford - Munster and Ireland
C Davies - Cardiff and Wales
DM Davies - Somerset Police and Wales
RT Evans - Newport and Wales
DJ Hayward - Newbridge and Wales
ER John - Neath and Wales
PW Kininmoth - Richmond and Scotland
JS McCarthy - Dolphin and Ireland
JW McKay - Queen's University Belfast and Ireland
KD Mullen - Old Belvedere and Ireland
JE Nelson - Malone and Ireland
VG Roberts - Penryn and England
JD Robins - Birkenhead Park and Wales
JRG Stephens - Neath and Wales
The Lions tour to Australasia in 1959 was again heavily weighted in favour of fixtures in
Just as in all previous joint tours, Australia played the minor party, hosting just six of the 31 games played by the Lions. Those six matches all took place at the beginning of the tour, with the Lions winning five and losing one.
The four non-Test matches brought wins over Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales Country by scores of 53-18, 39-11 and 27-14, but the Lions were beaten 18-14 by New South Wales in just their second game of the tour.
The two-Test series against the Wallabies was won easily by the Lions thanks to a 17-6 triumph in Brisbane and a 24-3 victory in Sydney in the last game before departure for New Zealand.
The Lions went on to play a further 25 games in New Zealand, winning 20 and losing five. History shows that the tourists impressed against provincial opposition and the All Blacks but they were beaten 3-1 in the Test series thanks to fine New Zealand kicking and a lack of firepower up front.
The tourists outscored the Kiwis four tries to nil in the first Test but lost out to six Don Clarke penalties.
The Lions played two more games in Canada before heading home, taking their total number of fixtures to 33 in close to four months.
A little bit of history
In the year that the Lions returned to Australia for the second time in a decade, Queen Elizabeth II was seven years into her reign; Dwight Eisenhower was three-quarters of the way through his time as American President; Fidel Castro named himself Cuba's leader; Val Kilmer, Vic Reeves and Morrissey were born but Frank Lloyd Wright and Buddy Holly both passed away; Britain started using post codes; the first Barbie doll was sold; Alaska became the 49th US state; Elvis made his first entry on the UK charts with Heartbreak Hotel and the very first section of UK motorway was opened.
The Lions arrived in Australia three years after Melbourne hosted the Olympics; the same year that Darwin was granted city status, formal construction on the Sydney Opera house began and Donald Bradman retired and a year before Australia's worst aircraft disaster.
Did you know?
The 1959 Lions scored more points than any other Lions squad in history. Only the heroes of 1974 came close to matching their tally of 842.
Tony O'Reilly secured his place in Lions folklore as he continued his remarkable try-scoring exploits of four years earlier.
Having crossed the whitewash 16 times in 15 games in South Africa in 1955, the Irish sensation scored a further 21 tries in 21 games in 1959.
O'Reilly's total of 37 tries across two tours remains a Lions record, with no one since coming remotely close to matching his achievement.
The Lions called up three replacements during their time on tour, all of them backs.
Sale three-quarter WM Patterson joined half-backs JP Horrocks-Taylor and AA Mulligan as a late recruit, with Patterson becoming the only uncapped member of the squad.
Ireland's Ronnie Dawson led the side from hooker, while England's Peter Jackson added 19 tries to O'Reilly's 21.
Ireland prop Syd Millar would go on to manage the Invincibles on their unbeaten 1974 tour to South Africa, O'Reilly would become a billionaire businessman and John Young would hold the position of secretary of the London Stock Exchange.
TJ Davies - Llanelli and Wales
KJF Scotland - Cambridge University and Scotland
NH Brophy - University College Dublin and Ireland
J Butterfield - Northampton and England
D Hewitt - Queen's University Belfast and Ireland
PB Jackson - Coventry and England
AJF O'Reilly - Old Belvedere and Ireland
WM Patterson - Sale
MJ Price - Pontypool and Wales
MC Thomas - Newport and Wales
JRC Young - Harlequins and England
GH Waddell - Cambridge University and Scotland
S Coughtrie - Edinburgh Academicals and Scotland
MAF English - Bohemians and Ireland
JP Horrocks-Taylor - Leicester and England
REG Jeeps - Northampton and England
AA Mulligan - Wanderers and Ireland
ABW Risman - Manchester and England
A Ashcroft - Waterloo and England
AR Dawson - Wanderers and Ireland (captain)
WR Evans - Cardiff and Wales
J Faull - Swansea and Wales
HF McLeod - Hawick and Scotland
RWD Marques - Harlequins and England
BV Meredith - Newport and Wales
S Millar - Ballymena and Ireland
HJ Morgan - Abertillery and Wales
WA Mulcahy - University College Dublin and Ireland
NAA Murphy - Cork Constitution and Ireland
TR Prosser - Pontypool and Wales
GK Smith - Kelso and Scotland
RH Williams - Llanelli and Wales
BGM Wood - Garryowen and Ireland
The Lions of 1966 aren't held in too high a regard in New Zealand but they do deserve credit for their success in Australia.
The tourists may have lost four and drawn two of their 21 non-Test fixtures in New Zealand and then been whitewashed by the All Blacks in the four-match series but they did leave Australia with a far better record and reputation.
The class of '66 were the first since 1904 to leave Australia without a defeat to their name - no mean feat considering the Wallabies could call upon the likes of all-time great Ken Catchpole and star half-back partner Phil Hawthorne.
The tour began with eight games against Australian opposition, including two Test matches. Only one of those games wasn't won by the Lions - a 6-6 draw with New South Wales in game five - as the Lions got their tour off to a promising start.
The opening two fixtures were won by 60 points to 3 and 38 points to 11, while Queensland were beaten 26-3 in the penultimate game before the Lions crossed the Tasman.
The Test series was won 2-0, although the first and second internationals were in stark contrast to each other.
The Lions scraped home in the first encounter with the Wallabies, winning 11-8 in front of a then Sydney Cricket Ground record crowd of just over 42,000. Two second-half tries helped the Lions overturn an 8-0 interval deficit and avoid what would have been a demoralising defeat.
The second Test was far more comfortable, with the Lions racking up a record-breaking 31-0 victory that included five converted tries and remains their biggest Test triumph in 125 years of touring.
After leaving Australia and then New Zealand, the Lions followed their 1959 counterparts by stopping off in Canada. The sole international was won 19-8 but the Lions were beaten 8-3 by British Columbia in Vancouver.
A little bit of history
In the year that the Lions made their third-post World War II visit to Australia and New Zealand, Queen Elizabeth II was two years short of matching her father's 16-year reign; Lyndon Johnson was into his third year as US President following JFK's assassination; Mao Tse-tung proclaimed the Cultural Revolution; David Cameron, Halle Berry, Cindy Crawford and Eric Cantona all took their first breaths; John Lennon said The Beatles were more popular than Jesus; David Bowie released his first record; Batman premiered on American TV; Muhammad Ali knocked out Henry Cooper in six rounds and England won the football World Cup for the first, and so far only, time in the tournament's history.
The Lions arrived in Australia two years after The Beatles toured the country and compulsory conscription was reintroduced for Australian men between the ages of 18 and 25; a year after indigenous Australians gained the right to vote in the state of Queensland; the same year that Robert Menzies retired as Australia's longest-serving Prime Minister and the country's currency was changed from the Australian pound to the Australian dollar and a year before the constitution was changed to allow Aboriginal Australians to be included in the population count.
Did you know?
The second Test against Australia was played at a rugby league venue. This might not seem too big a deal in the modern-day game but it almost proved a massive stumbling block in the amateur version of the sport.
With no rugby union ground available for that fixture, the Lions required special dispensation from the International Rugby Board to play at Lang Park in Brisbane in order to prevent them from becoming professionalised.
There was no doubt that the Lions' backs were a more potent force than their forwards. Welshmen Dewi Bebb and David Watkins stood out, while Scotland full back Stuart Wilson also impressed.
The squad's most complete player was Ireland's Mike Gibson, a true Lions hero who would go on to play in 12 Tests for the tourists against the best the southern hemisphere had to offer. Gibson played in 19 of the 25 games in New Zealand in 1966 but he didn't feature once in Australia!
The 1996 Lions were the first to have a coach. Former Welsh international John Robins toured alongside the 30 original players, two replacements and team manager Des O'Brien - a move that has been followed by every Lions team ever since.
The Lions were led by Scotland's Mike Campbell-Lamerton, a controversial choice given the popularity of Wales back row Alun Pask, the man who skippered the Dragons to the Five Nations Championship that same year.
Campbell-Lamerton faced even further criticism when his tour form failed to live up to expectation, putting the captain and the management under considerable pressure. The affable second row and future British Army Colonel responded by showing great honour and dignity in putting the needs of the team above his own personal pride when it came to selection.
Having played in both Tests in Australia, Campbell-Lamerton stood down from two of the four internationals in New Zealand - a true measure of a man who, although not the greatest player or on-field leader, won the utmost respect of his Lions colleagues and kept the group united on what was a tiring and difficult tour.
Welsh fly-half Watkins captained the tourists when Campbell-Lamerton stood down from Test selection. The Newport playmaker would later become the only man to skipper both the Lions and the Great Britain Rugby League team.
WD Thomas was the only uncapped member of a squad that featured 11 other Welshmen, nine Irishmen, six Scots and five Englishmen.
Lions legend Willie-John McBride took part in his second Lions adventure, missing out on the Tests in Australia but playing in three of the four in New Zealand.
Gibson made the first of his five Lions tours, while Jim Telfer would later help guide the 1997 Lions to series success in South Africa.
TG Price - Llanelli and Wales
D Rutherford - Gloucester and England
S Wilson - London Scottish and Scotland
DIE Bebb - Swansea and Wales
FPK Bresnihan - Wanderers and Ireland
AJW Hinshelwood - London Scottish and Scotland
DK Jones - Cardiff and Wales
CW McFadyean - Moseley and England
KF Savage - Northampton and England
JC Walsh - Sunday's Well and Ireland
SJ Watkins - Newport and Wales
MP Weston - Durham City and England
CMH Gibson - Cambridge University and Ireland
AR Lewis - Newport and Wales
D Watkins - Newport and Wales
RM Young - Queen's University Belfast and Ireland
MJ Campbell-Lamerton - Cambridge University and Scotland (captain)
D Grant - Hawick and Scotland
KW Kennedy - CIYMS and Ireland
FAL Laidlaw - Melrose and Scotland
RA Lamont - Instonians and Ireland
WJ McBride - Ballymena and Ireland
RJ McLoghlin - Gosforth and Ireland
NAA Murphy - Cork Constitution and Ireland
CH Norris - Cardiff and Wales
AEI Pask - Abertillery and Wales
DL Powell - Northampton and England
B Price - Newport and Wales
GJ Prothero - Bridgend and Wales
JW Telfer - Melrose and Scotland
WD Thomas - Llanelli
D Williams - Ebbw Vale and Wales