The 11th of June has been one of the most popular days for the British & Irish Lions to play on down the years and today’s game in Newcastle against the Combined Country XV will be the 11th fixture played on this date.
In fact, on this very day the inaugural captain, Robert Seddon, was preparing his team to face Sydney Juniors at the Association Cricket Ground – their cfourth game on Aussie soil.
11 June, 1888 – Association Cricket Ground, Sydney
Sydney Juniors 0 British & Irish Lions 11
HT: 0-9 Att: 300
Sydney Juniors: Wilson; Seymour, Finn, Foster, Lyons; R Cameron, Street; McPherson, L Scott, A Scott, Fraser, Clarkson, Hartley, McCallum, Griffin
British & Irish Lions: T Haslam; J Anderton, A Stoddart, H Speakman, W Bumby; J Nolan, R Seddon [capt]; C Mathers, H Eagles, R Burnet, S Williams, T Kent, A Stuart, W Thomas, A Laing
Scorers: Try – J Anderton, H Speakman, W Bumby, S Williams; Conversion – J Anderton
Referee: A Hale (Australia)
In 1910 the opening game of the tour to South Africa was on this day, resulting in a 14-4 win over South West District in Mossel Bay, and the 1938 tour kicked off with an 11-8 win over Border.
The first of two defeats on this day came in 1966, when Michael Campbell-Lamerton’s Lions were beaten 14-8 by Southland in Invercargill in their first game in New Zealand. That defeat came a week after they had hammered the wallabies 31-0 in Brisbane to take the series in Australia 2-0.
The Lions gained ample revenge over Southland by beating them 20-12 in 1977 and 41-3 in 1983 on this day, but there was another slip up in New Zealand in 2005 when the New Zealand Maoris inflicted a 19-13 defeat on Brian O’Driscoll’s Lions.
The great Irish centre was captain on that day, scoring the Lions’ only try, and the game was refereed by today’s official, Steve Walsh.
11 June, 2005 – Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
New Zealand Maoris 19 British & Irish Lions 13
HT: 6-6 Att: 26,500
New Zealand Maoris: L MacDonald; R Gear, R Tipoki, L McAlister, C Ralph; D Hill (C Spencer 42), P Weepu; D Manu (G Feek 52), C Flynn, C Hayman, R Filipo (D Braid 72), S Hohneck, J Gibbes [capt], M Holah, G MacDonald
Scorers: Try: L MacDonald; Con: L McAlister; Pens: D Hill 2, L McAlister 2
British & Irish Lions: J Lewsey; T Shanklin, B O'Driscoll [capt], G D'Arcy (S Horgan 22), S Williams; S Jones (R O'Gara 30), M Dawson; A Sheridan (G Jenkins 49), S Thompson (S Byrne 72), J White, S Shaw, P O'Connell, R Hill, M Williams, M Owen (G Jenkins 42)
Scorers: Try: B O'Driscoll; Con: S Jones; Pens: S Jones 2
Referee: Steve Walsh (NZ / Australia)