The night before the Lions exploded into action at Coca Cola Park, the old Ellis Park, there was a reunion of the Transvaal side that had beaten the Lions in 1968. Of all the provinces in South Africa, the old Transvaal Union could point to more wins over the Lions than anyone else.
Not only that, the Golden Lions had been finalists in the Currie Cup last season. Highly talented and credible opposition, yet blown away by the power and precision of the tourists.
The previous record score line against Transvaal had been the 36-13 notched by Robin Thomson's 1955 Lions. They scored seven tries in that game, a total eclipsed by Brian O'Driscoll's men on Wednesday night.
Not even if you add the extra two points per try to compensate for the new scoring values would Thompson's men have topped the points avalanche in 2009. Stephen Jones equaled Angus Cameron's six conversions, but Tony O'Reilly's try hat-trick remained untouched despite Jamie Roberts, Tommy Bowe and Ugo Monye both scoring twice.
Had the Lions taken all their chances then maybe, just maybe they might have threatened the highest score ever recorded by a British & Irish team in South Africa, the 97 points scored by Willie John McBride's 1974 legends.
They hit the unfortunate South West Districts team for 16 tries at Mossel Bay, with JJ Williams helping himself to six of them. Alan Old chipped in with 15 conversions, a penalty and a try to amass 37 points.
Here are the teams and scorers from those three great occasions.
1955 - Transvaal 13, British Lions 36
HT: 5-18 Attendance: 60,000
Transvaal: F Herbst; F Roux, P Williams, D Sinclair, J Bruwer; N Rens, P Ferreira; J Leonard, P Wessels, P Hippert, G Kruger, P Carter, P Pelser [capt], B van Wyk, J Rahn
Scorers: Tries - D Sinclair, F Roux; Cons - F Herbst (2) ; Pen - F Herbst
British Lions: A Cameron; T O'Reilly, J Butterfield, G Griffiths, H Morris; D Baker, D Jeeps; H McLeod, B Meredith, C Meredith, R Thompson [capt], R Williams, R Higgins, J Greenwood, R Robins
Scorers: Tries - T O'Reilly (3), J Butterfield (2), R Higgins, G Griffiths; Cons - A Cameron (6); Pen - A Cameron
Referee: Mike Slabber (South Africa)
1974 - South Western Districts 0, British Lions 97
HT: 0-37 Attendance: 3000
South Western Districts: D Pienaar; A du Toit, S de Lange, J Botes, A van Tonder; M van der Westhuizen, J Taljaardt; L Swart [capt], J Blom, J Gerber, D du Toit, S van der Merwe, J le Grange, S Jonker, H du Toit
British Lions: A Irvine (JPR Williams); T Grace, G Evans, D Milliken, JJ Williams; A Old, J Moloney; M Burton, K Kennedy, F Cotton, W McBride [capt], C Ralston, S McKinney, F Slattery, M Davies
Scorers: Tries - JPR Williams (2), F Slattery, J Moloney, JJ Williams (6), A Old, T Grace, G Evans (3), M Davies; Cons - A Old (15); Pen - A Old
Referee: Max Baise (South Africa)
2009 - Golden Lions 10, British & Irish Lions 74
HT: 10-39 Attendance: 22,218
Golden Lions: L Ludik (S Frolick 5); M Killian, J Boshoff (W Venter 60), D la Grange, D Noble; A Pretorius, J Vermaak (C Jonck 66); L Sephaka, W Wepener (E Reynecke 57), G Muller, B Mockford (T Clever 38), W Stoltz (E Joubert 5-10, 57), C Grobbelaar, F van der Merwe, W Alberts
Scorers: Try - S Frolick; Con - A Pretorius; Pen - A Pretorius
British Lions: R Kearney; T Bowe, B O'Driscoll (S Williams 60, captain), J Roberts (J Hook 53), U Monye, S Jones (H Ellis 62); M Phillips; G Jenkins, L Mears (R Ford 66), P Vickery (E Murray 66), N Hines, A Jones, T Croft (A Powell 65), D Wallace (S Ferris 48), J Heaslip
Scorers: Tries - B O'Driscoll, U Monye (2), T Bowe (2), S Ferris, J Roberts (2), T Croft, J Hook; Cons - S Jones (6), J Hook (3); Pens - S Jones (2)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)