Lions by numbers

We begin the New Year with a stat attack as we look at the Lions by numbers. [more]

Lions by numbers

We begin the New Year with a stat attack as we look at the Lions by numbers.

No doubt you can all reel off the names of some of the most famous Lions, those who’ve brightened the world of rugby with their brilliance in a red shirt, been at the heart of the legends past down by our fathers and grandfathers and given us some of our greatest sporting memories thanks to their collective achievements for the globe’s most-famous touring team.

But when it comes to stats, the numbers don’t roll of the tongue quite so easily.

The digits 71, 74 and 97 need no explaining but what about the numbers hiding beneath the surface, the key stats behind each and every one of the Lions’ adventures to date?

We’ll be delving into the bountiful history of Britain and Ireland’s elite for a quick-fire numerical look into the Lions’ 28 tours to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, covering three centuries and more than 600 matches.

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In part one, we’ll run through the first 14 tours from 1888 until 1959 and in part two we’ll turn our attentions to the 14 tours between 1962 and the most recent trip to South Africa in 2009.

Perhaps a few numbers as well as names will start to stick before the 2013 tour to Australia.

1888 – Australia and New Zealand

35 – Games the Lions played on their first tour
0 – Test matches played by the pioneers
6 – Drawn matches on tour
2 – Players who remained in Australia and New Zealand after the tour
19 – Australian Rules matches in which the Lions took part
15 – Pounds expenses accepted by JP Clowes which led to the RFU branding him a professional
28 – Age of tour captain Robert Seddon who drowned in the Hunter River 20 games into the tour
6,585 – Runs scored in first-class cricket by tour organiser Alfred Shaw

1891 – South Africa

3 – Tests played and won by the Lions
1 – Points conceded in all 20 games in South Africa
226 – Points scored in that time
30 – Tries scored by Cambridge University three quarter Randolph Aston
6,000 – Attendance at the Lions’ first-ever Test match
18,18 – Age in years and days of Jack Hartley – the youngest player to face the Lions in a Test

1896 – South Africa

1 – Games lost – the first defeat for the Lions in South Africa
2 – Lions who had also toured South Africa in 1891
9 – Irishmen in the party – the first time a major Irish element had been included
3 – Practicing Catholics on tour – Tom Crean and the Magee brothers, Louis and James
3 – Tour members who would later win a Victoria Cross or Military Cross
3-1 – The winning score in the Test series – the last Lions series win in South Africa until 1974

1899 – Australia

5 – Weeks at sea in traveling to Australia
333 – Points scored by the Lions – a record that stood until 1930
36 – Points scored against Bundaberg – the biggest tally in any Lions game in the 19th century
13 – Points conceded against Australia in the first Test – the most in four tours
1898 – Year the tour was originally scheduled to take place
250 – Pounds offered to the Lions to also play in New Zealand – £150 short of the Lions’ request

1903 – South Africa

4 – Games played by the Lions before they recorded a win
13 – Matches that took place in Cape Town, Kimberley and Johannesburg
8 – Points scored by South Africa in the third Test – the first time the Lions lost a series
0 – Games missed by Reg Skrimshire and Bill Scott
59 – Points scored by Skrimshire – a tally that included 10 tries

1904 – Australia and New Zealand

1 – Players who toured in 1903 and again in 1904 – David R. Bedell-Sivright was the only one
1 – Games played by Bedell-Sivright – he broke his leg in the tour opener
2-3-2 – Controversial pack formation used by New Zealand, from which a ‘Rover’ had free reign
2 – New Zealanders who represented the Lions in their home country
20,000 – Fans who watched New Zealand beat the Lions in Wellington

1908 – Australia and New Zealand

42 – Winning margin against Newcastle – the biggest of the Lions’ first 12 tours
64 – Points conceded in the three-Test against the All Blacks
8 – Points scored in that series
5 – Test tries scored by Frank Mitchinson against the Lions – the joint highest in history
11 – Lions who had been capped by their countries – the party totalled 28
5 – Former pupils at Christ’s College Brecon on tour
10,000 – Crowd at the weather-affected 2nd Test in NZ – 13,000 less than had watched the 1st

1910 – South Africa

7 – Players from Newport – a record for a single club on a Lions tour until 2005
65 – Points scored by ‘Cherry’ Pillman despite not being a recognised kicker
4 – Replacements called up – the first time more than one player had been called for
1 – Players who toured but didn’t play a single game – J. Reid-Kerr was the unfortunate one
10 – Members of Bok series hero Duggie Morkel’s family who would play for South Africa

1924 – South Africa

8 – Number of goal kicks landed by the Lions across all 21 matches
175 – Total number of points scored – the lowest by any Lions team in history
5 – Sports played at national level by Stan Harris: rugby, tennis, boxing, water polo, ballroom dancing
3-4-1- Scrum formation used by South Africa but not adopted by British teams until the 1950s
25,000 – Estimated number of fans at the 2nd Test, even though only 15,000 had tickets

1930 – Australia and New Zealand

36 – Points conceded against Victoria – the most in a non-Test match until 1993
80 – Pounds spending money required by each Lion
30,000 – Spectators who saw New Zealand beat the Lions in the 2nd Test in Christchurch
50 – Minutes the Lions had 14 men in the 2nd Test after Paul Murray dislocated a shoulder

1938 – South Africa

100 – Roughly the number of players approached before 29 were chosen to tour
14 – Points scored by legendary Bok full back Gerry Brand in the 1st Test – his last international
36,000 – Size of the crowd for the 1st Test – then a record in South Africa
21 – Points scored by the Lions in the 3rd Test – their first Test win over the Boks since 1910
8 – Irishmen who played in that 3rd Test triumph – a record

1950 – Australia and New Zealand

60 – Age of Taff Davies, the Lions’ baggage man
5.5 – Hours taken to fly the team from Dunedin to Auckland
10 – Percentage increase in power consumption in NZ during the two hours of the 3rd Test
30 – Minutes taken to book out the main stand at Eden Park for the 4th Test
58 – Kilometres cycled by 11-year-old Paul Grant to watch the Lions in Rotorua
79 – Points scored by replacement Lewis Jones – the first Lion to fly rather than travel by sea

1955 – South Africa

200 – The Lions’ positive points difference over the 25 games
0 – Players over 30 in the Lions tour party – this was a specific directive from the tour manager
140 – Estimated temperature in degrees Fahrenheit when the Lions stopped off in Khartoum
35 – Scrums lost out of the 41 that took place in defeat to Eastern Province
95,000 – Fans who paid to see the 1st Test – another 10,000 were estimated to have snuck in

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95,000 fans saw the 1st Test against the Springboks in 1955

1959 – Australia and New Zealand

165 – Tries scored by the Lions in 33 tour games
41 – Combined total of tries scored by Tony O’Reilly (22) and Peter Jackson (19)
16 – Pipes that the Lions’ honorary secretary Ossie Glasgow brought on tour
3 – Full days each Lion calculated he spent signing autograph books
842 – Total points scored by the tourists – more than any other Lions party
1040 – Best day's winnings in dollars at the races for flanker and keen punter Haydn Morgan
4 – Tries scored by the Lions in the 1st Test – they lost 18-17
53 – Percentage of Lions tries that were converted
9.6 – Best time in seconds that Lions three-quarter John Young recorded for the 100 yard dash

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