Lions Legend: Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson was one of the most entertaining performers on the 1959 Lions tour of Australasia. [more]

Lions Legend: Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson was one of the most entertaining performers on the 1959 Lions tour of Australasia.

Ronnie Dawson's tourists left New Zealand and Australia having been described as one of the most impressive touring sides ever to travel to either country and Jackson more than played his part.

The New Zealand public in particular took kindly to the attacking style of play employed by the Lions, with Jackson one of the major exponents of this free-flowing style.

The England wing was nicknamed Nijinsky after the Russian ballet dancer and the Kiwi spectators found it easy to understand why.

Jackson's quick feet and perfectly-balanced running style meant he could counter attack from almost anywhere, while his trademark swerve helped him negotiate the smallest of gaps in opposition defences.

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The Coventry-based player scored an incredible 19 tries in 18 matches for the Lions, including a hat-trick in his first-ever appearance in Lions colours.

He went on to score four tries in a single match on two separate occasions – against West Coast/Buller and Marlborough/Nelson Bays in successive fixtures.

Jackson was described by one journalist as 'the zaniest runner of all time', while reporters in New Zealand suggested that, when not selected for the Lions in provincial matches, he should appear on the sidelines on a unicycle to entertain the crowds.

Jackson died in 2004, 45 years after his one and only Lions tour.

Peter Jackson's factfile

Date of birth: September 22 1930
Club: Coventry
International caps: England 20

Jackson's Lions lowdown

Lions debut: Versus Victoria, May 23, 1959
Lions Tests: 5 (Both Tests in Aus and the 1st, 3rd and 4th Tests in NZ in 1959)
Lions non-Test appearances: 13
Total Lions appearances: 18 (all in 1959)
Lions points: 95* (19 tries)*under the current scoring system
Final Lions appearance: Versus New Zealand, Auckland, September 19, 1959

English contributions

Jackson won 20 caps for his country over a seven-year period between 1965 and 1963.

He first came to the attention of the national selectors in 1950 when, as an Old Edwardians player, he attended an England trial, but his lack of first-class rugby counted against him and he had to wait a further six years to gain his first cap.

Jackson scored three tries in the 1957 Five Nations Championship as England achieved their first Grand Slam since the 1920s, while his most-famous international try came in the late win over Australia at Twickenham a year later.

Did you know?

Jackson captained Warwickshire in the County Championship and later became the secretary of the English Senior Clubs.

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