They lost the series 3-0, with one Test drawn, in New Zealand, but went on to win both Tests against the Wallabies in Australia. They were hugely popular in both countries and won many admiriers for their attacking style.
Catering on board the Ceramic was sumptuous and extensive, so extensive that the Lions tucked into a six course dinner on their first night on board. The following night, Sunday, 2 April, Clifford decided to go further to satisfy his appetite and actually tackled all 18 courses on the menu.
This is how the Cardiff and Wales utility back Billy Cleaver described the incident in his tour diary (extract from Alan Evans book 'Lions Down Under 1950'): 'We had an excellent dinner of six courses and began to feel the luxury of the travel,' Further appreciation of the gastronomic delights was postponed for a couple of days for the majority of the team, who went down with sea sickness. The notable exception was Tommy Clifford who on the Sunday evening left his legendary imprint on the annals of ocean dining when he said he would have 'all the menu'.
It was later confirmed the Irish council worker had indeed gone through the card:
Hors d'Ouvres (various)
Creme de Tomato
Fillets of Sole Tartare
Sweetcorn en Corotte
Lamb Cutlers Parisienne
Braised York Ham Oporto
French Beans, Boiled and Roast Potatoes
Roast Norfolk Turkey with Cranberry jelly
Rolled Ox Tongue with Leg of Pork and Apple Sauce
Salad with Mayonnaise Dressing
Plum Pudding with Brandy Sauce
His Irish team mate, Bill McKay, is alleged to have tried to match the Munster man, but gave up half way through completely bloated. Clifford was none the worse for his exploits on board and played in 18 games on the tour, including five of the six Test matches.
Clifford became the life and soul of the party, along with fellow prop Cliff Davies, of Cardiff and Wales, and never missing a party. Well, he almost missed the final one of the tour on board the Strathnavar.
The great Jack Kyle takes up the story: "We were somewhere in the Bay of Biscay having a final party among ourselves. The call came out for a last rendition of 'O'Reilly's Daughter' but Tommy was nowhere to be seen. Suffering the effects of over six months as a Lions he had finally succumbed and taken to his bed. So six of the boys went down to his cabin, lifted him, still in the horizontal pisition, and carried him into the party. Responding to our musical request, he sat up, sang his favourite song, and then laid back again. We did the only decent thing and carried him back to where we had found him 10 minutes before."
These days Young Munster play at Tom Clifford Park, the ground named after one of the club's most famous sons.