The first tour to Australia and New Zealand in the 1900s was unusual in that it came just a year after the previous Lions adventure. The Lions had travelled to South Africa in 1903, playing their 22nd and final game of that tour in mid-September. Just over nine months later and the Lions were back in action on the fields of Australia.
The tour may have been a joint venture to both sides of the Tasman but the vast majority of the action took place in Australia. Of the 19 games played, only five were against New Zealand opposition. And while those five games brought mixed results, the 14 matches played in Australia were a resounding success.
The Lions won every single one of their games in Oz, scoring 265 points and conceding just 39. They won all bar one of their matches by 10 points or more and were comfortable victors in the three-match Test series. All three internationals in Australia were one-sided affairs, with the Lions winning 17-0, 17-3 and 16-0 for a combined score of 50 points to 3.
A little bit of history
In the year that the Lions set off again for Australia and New Zealand, Edward VII was a third of the way through his nine-year reign as King; Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States; Cary Grant, Glenn Miller and Salvador Dali were all born; the first main line electric train line in the UK opened; the ice cream cone was created by Charles E Menches; the first of the now famous New Year's Eve celebrations at Times Square in New York took place; the Trans-Siberian Railway finally opened after 13 years of construction and the first rugby league international was played between England and an Other Nationalities side in Wigan.
The Lions arrived in Australia five years after their last visit; three years after Australia officially became a federation; two years after King Edward VII approved the design of the Australian flag and a year after Alfred Deakin became Australia's second Prime Minister.
Did you know?
Many observers believe that the reason the Lions excelled in Australia but not in New Zealand in 1904 was the introduction of the 'Rover system' favoured by the Kiwis.
This involved them packing down in a 2-3-2 formation, with a forward known as a 'Rover' never packing down and instead doing everything he could to prevent the Lions backline from having any time on the ball.
Wales would employ a similar tactic to beat the All Blacks when the New Zealanders toured Britain and Ireland a year later.
The star of the tour was undoubtedly a Welsh half-back by the name of Percy Bush.
The Cardiff playmaker has been likened to the great Barry John and was instrumental in bringing the best out of a hugely-talented Lions backline.
Bush received rave reviews from the British and Australian press as the Lions showed the Australians a new and exciting style of attacking play.
Just one member of the squad that toured South Africa in 1903 was present again in Australia and New Zealand in 1904 and that was the tour captain Bedell-Sivright.
The Cambridge University and Scotland skipper played in every one of the first 12 games in 1903 before injury prevented him from taking any further part in that tour. Injury again brought his participation to a premature end in 1904 but not before he had played a central role in the unbeaten Australia part of the adventure.
There were only four internationals among the 13 forwards, with writer and former Lion Clem Thomas describing the rest as 'merely of club standard'. But while the forwards lacked international experience, the backline was dominated by Welsh caps who are still held in the highest regard more than a century on.
The magical Bush was joined by the impressive Tommy Vile, Rhys Gabe, Teddy Morgan and Willie Llewellyn in the Test team. Those same players led Wales through their first golden era, a time when they won the International Championship on five occasions in seven years.
CF Stanger-Leathes - Northern
JL Fisher - Yorkshire
RT Gabe - Cardiff and Wales
WF Jowett - Swansea and Wales
W Llewellyn - Cardiff and Wales
PF McEvedy - Guy's Hospital
ET Morgan - Guy's Hospital and Wales
AB O'Brien - Guy's Hospital
PF Bush - Cardiff
FC Hulme - Birkenhead Park and England
TH Vile - Newport
D.R Bedell-Sivright - Cambridge University and Scotland (captain)
TS Bevan - Swansea
SN Crowther - Lennox
DD Dobson - Oxford University and England
RW Edwards - Malone and Ireland
AF Harding - London Welsh and Wales
BF Massey - Yorkshire
CD Patterson - Malone
RJ Rogers - Bath
SM Saunders - Guy's Hospital
JT Sharland - Streatham
BI Swannell - Northampton
DH Trail - Guy's Hospital
The 1908 Lions tour was another joint adventure to Australia and New Zealand. But while the 1904 tourists had played the majority of their matches in Australia, this time it was New Zealand opposition that dominated the fixture list.
Of the 26 games, just nine were played in Australia but, just like four years earlier, it was this part of the tour that would prove the more successful. While the 1908 Lions couldn't match their predecessors' unbeaten run Down Under, they did come out on top in all bar two of their Australian fixtures.
Western Districts and New South Wales both got the better of the tourists by narrow margins but the trip to Australia was still a definite success. The nine games there included a 26-3 hammering of Brisbane in the final match of the tour and a record-breaking 42-0 win over Newcastle in mid-August.
That extent of that rout in Newcastle is somewhat unclear, with some records suggesting that the final score was actually either 32 or 30-0, but the result was impressive regardless. If we take the 42-0 scoreline to be the most accurate, then that result was the biggest in Lions history. No other Lions side had scored that many points in a single match, nor had any one come close to that big a winning margin in the five previous tours.
The tourists themselves are often referred to as the Anglo-Welsh rather than the Lions as the squad was made up of players solely from England and Wales. There were no Irishmen or Scots in the party and the side wore red jerseys with white hoops to combine the England and Wales colours. It would be the first and last Anglo-Welsh tour and was generally seen as an unsuccessful experiment.
A little bit of history
In the year that the Lions headed back Down Under, Edward VII now had less than two years left of his reign as King; Theodore Roosevelt was entering his final year as US President; Joan Crawford, Bette Davies and Oskar Schindler took their first breaths; Bulgaria declared independence from the Ottoman Empire; the first-ever beauty contest was held in Folkestone, Kent; Mother's Day was celebrated for the first time; the Model-T Ford auto car was built in Detroit and Jack Johnson became the first black heavyweight boxing champion of the world.
The Lions arrived in Australia two years after Australia took control of south-eastern New Guinea; a year after Canberra was chosen as the national capital; three years before the founding of the Royal Australian Navy and four years before Australia sent women to the Olympics for the first time.
Did you know?
On the New Zealand leg of their tour, the Anglo-Welsh Lions lost full back EJ Jackett for a lengthy spell of the game against Wellington and were politely offered the use of a substitute by the opposition.
The use of replacements for serious injuries was permitted in the southern hemisphere but was still outlawed and severely frowned upon by the British-dominated International Board.
The tourists refused the offer on the grounds that it transgressed the laws of the game. The Lions went on to lose that match 19-13 but the management felt that they had maintained the true spirit of the sport.
It's hard to pick out a man-of-the-tour on an adventure when none of the Anglo-Welsh Lions really stood out but RA Gibbs deserves a mention for his try-scoring feats in Australia.
The Cardiff and Wales three-quarter scored an incredible eight tries in six games Down Under. That record becomes even more impressive when you consider that he didn't feature in the huge wins over Newcastle and Brisbane.
The 1908 Lions were severely lacking in international experience and star names.
Only 11 of the 28-man squad had played international rugby prior to the tour, with that number being split six-five in favour of the backs.
Welsh international Arthur 'Boxer' Harding was the tour captain having been on the previous Lions tour four years earlier.
Whereas the 1904 tourists had been blessed with an exceptionally talented backline that ran rings round the Australians, the class of 1908 were a far more ordinary side. Only a few of the squad really enhanced their reputations on tour, particularly on the New Zealand leg which saw two heavy defeats and a draw in the three-match Test series.
Five of the squad were old boys of Welsh school Christ's College Brecon.
JCM Dyke - Coventry and Wales
EJ Jackett - Falmouth and England
FE Chapman - Hartlepool Rovers
RA Gibbs - Cardiff and Wales
RB Griffiths - Newport
JP 'Ponty' Jones - Pontypool and Wales
JP 'Tuan' Jones - Guy's Hospital
PF McEvedy - Guy's Hospital
HH Vassall - Oxford University and England
JL Williams - Cardiff and Wales
J Davey - Redruth and England
H Laxon - Cambridge University
WL Morgan - London Welsh
GL Williams - Liverpool
HA Archer - Guy's Hospital
R Dibble - Bridgewater Albion and England
PJ Down - Bristol
RK Green - Neath
AF Harding - London Welsh and Wales (captain)
GR Hind - Guy's Hospital
ES Jackson - Leicester
GV Kyrke - Marlborough Nomads
E Morgan - Swansea
WL Oldham - Coventry and England
JAS Ritson - Northern
TW Smith - Leicester
LS Thomson - Penarth
JF Williams - London Welsh and Wales
The 1930 tour saw the Lions return to Australia for the first time in 22 years.
The outbreak of the First World War had a prolonged impact, with the Lions only returning to action in 1924, six years after the conflict's conclusion, when they toured South Africa. A short tour of Argentina followed in 1927 before the Lions finally headed back Down Under.
Just as in 1908, Australia formed the minor part of a tour that focussed predominantly on New Zealand. The Lions played 28 games in 1930 but only seven of those took place on Australian soil.
The results in Australia were mixed - just as they were on the tour as a whole - with the Lions winning five times and losing twice.
The first of those defeats came in the only Test they played in Australia - a 6-5 loss in Sydney that followed a promising win over New South Wales. Victories over Queensland and an Australian XV saw the Lions bounce back before a shock 28-3 reverse at the hands of New South Wales.
The Lions did end the tour with a narrow win over Victoria and a 70-point hammering of Western Australia as they finished on an historic high. That 70-3 win in Perth in the final game of the tour was the Lions' biggest win in their history and would remain so for another 44 years.
Although the single Test the Lions played against Australia cannot be classified as a series, it was the first time that the Lions had ever lost more internationals than they had won against the Wallabies. The Australians would have to wait 71 years before a similar situation occurred, with the Lions losing a three-match series by two games to one in 2001.
A little bit of history
In the year that the Lions made their first visit to Australia since 1908, George V was 20 years into his 26-year reign as King; Herbert Hoover had taken office as American President a year earlier; Ruth Rendell, Steve McQueen and Rolf Harris were all born; the first Mickey Mouse comic strip appeared; the Lone Ranger was broadcast on radio for the first time; US astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto; Gandhi began his 200-mile march protesting against the British Salt Tax; the Vatican approved the rhythm method for birth control and Uruguay won the first-ever football World Cup.
The Lions arrived in Australia 15 years after surfing was first introduced to the country; 10 years after the formation of the Qantas airline; seven years after Vegemite was first produced; in the same year that Aussie cricketer Don Bradman scored a record 452 not out in one innings and two years before the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Did you know?
The Lions of 1930 received a daily allowance of three shillings for necessities but this sum had to be given in tokens rather than cash.
The game's amateur status prevented the players from receiving any sort of hard cash so the tour manager James Baxter had to hand out vouchers to spend in the hotel or on board the ship.
The star of the tour should have been England skipper Wavell Wakefield but the man expected to captain the Lions was one of a number of high-profile players who didn't tour.
Also among the absentees were Ireland skipper Harry Stephenson and his compatriots Mark Sugden and Ernie Crawford and Scotland stars Ian Smith and Phil Macpherson.
Of the 29 players who did leave with the Lions, England fly-half Roger Spong was arguably the most talented.
Spong impressed on the Australian leg of the tour and when given space to run in New Zealand but the Kiwis generally prevented him from experiencing that luxury. The 'Rover' system favoured by the New Zealanders made Spong's life increasingly difficult and prevented the Lions from reaching their full potential on tour.
The Lions were so incensed by the use of a Rover that Baxter made sure the practice was banned by the International Board when he returned to England after protesting that the rules should stipulate that teams must put three men in the front row.
The Lions took 29 players and a manager to Australia and New Zealand but they invited far more than that. The tour organisers were thought to have sent out more than 100 invites but large numbers of Britain and Ireland's best players were unable to commit to the tour.
Scotland were widely considered to be the best side in Europe at the time but only one of their players was able to make the tour. As in previous tours, it was Englishmen who made up the bulk of the party. They supplied 16 players, with seven Welshmen and five Irishmen also included.
Leicester and England forward Doug Prentice captained the squad, although his form meant he only played in two of the five Tests.
Just as on the 1924 tour to South Africa, only six members of the squad hadn't been capped by their countries. This was in stark contrast to the last time the Lions had headed to Australia and New Zealand when 17 of the squad were uncapped.
Star scrum-half W Sobey was injured in the first game and played no further part in the three-and-a-half month tour.
JA Bassett - Penarth and Wales
G Bonner - Bradford
CD Aarvold - Cambridge University and England
HM Bowcott - Cambridge University and Wales
R Jennings - Redruth
T Jones-Davies - London Welsh and Wales
JC Morley - Newport and Wales
PF Murray - Wanderers and Ireland
AL Novis - Blackheath and England
JSR Reeve - Harlequins and England
TC Knowles - Birkenhead Park
H Poole - Cardiff
W Sobey - Old Millhillians and England
RS Spong - Old Millhillians and England
GR Beamish - Leicester and Ireland
BH Black - Oxford University and England
MJ Dunne - Lansdowne and Ireland
JL Farrell - Bective Rangers and Ireland
JMcD Hodgson - Northern
HCS Jones - Manchester
IE Jones - Llanelli and Wales
DA Kendrew - Leicester and England
SA Martindale - Kendal and England
HO'H O'Neill - Queen's University Belfast and Ireland
D Parker - Swansea and Wales
FD Prentice - Leicester and England (captain)
H Rew - Blackheath and England
WB Welsh - Hawick and Scotland
H Wilkinson - Halifax and England