Lions all-time XV – Scrum-half

What would your dream British & Irish Lions XV of all-time look like? Here we look at the stand-out candidates at each position, with the next instalment of this series looking at the scrum-halves: tell us who you think should make the team, we'll add up the votes and publish the all-time Lions XV, as selected by the fans. [more]

Lions all-time XV – Scrum-half

What would your dream British & Irish Lions XV of all-time look like? Here we look at the stand-out candidates at each position, with the next instalment of this series looking at the scrum-halves: tell us who you think should make the team, we’ll add up the votes and publish the all-time Lions XV, as selected by the fans.

It may be a more pertinent debate to discuss who the second-best scrum-half in the history of the Lions would be.
For few would argue that Gareth Edwards stands alone, on the highest plinth of Lions greats in the No.9 jersey.

The lynch-pin during Wales’ golden era, Edwards toured South Africa with the Lions in 1968 as a Test fledgling, but was in his pomp alongside Barry John in 1971.

He did not score a try in any of his ten Lions Tests but he made numerous contributions including a superb assist for Barry John in the vital third Test against New Zealand in Wellington.

During the Invincibles’ tour of South Africa in 1974, Edwards was the tactical mastermind behind the series victory.
He also scored that try for the Barbarians against the All Blacks in 1973.

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It may be hard to look past Edwards for the No.9 jersey in this side, but that is not to say that he does not have his rivals.

Only Willie-John McBride has played more Lions Tests than Dickie Jeeps – a feisty scrum-half who became the first man to play an entire Test series for the Lions in 1955 before he had even been capped by his country.

He went on three Lions tours in all and played in 13 Tests out of a possible 14.

Another Northampton scrum-half that deserves a mention is Matt Dawson, who also went on three tours.

The World Cup winner was involved in the 1997 victory over South Africa, emerging as the unlikely try-scoring hero in the first Test.

Return back over the Severn Bridge and Robert Jones’ heroics on the 1987 tour to Australia means he is well worth a mention.

Jones spent most of his international career on the back foot behind an average Wales pack, but with the Lions he got the chance to show his full array of skills. He showed a spiky side to impressive effect in the decider against Nick Farr-Jones in 1989, something for which he was not usually renowned.

Rob Howley’s greatest Lions contribution arguably came this summer as Warren Gatland’s assistant but he did also tour as a player in 1997 and 2001 – starting the first two Tests of the latter series before injury struck.

Terry Holmes also deserves a mention as another who was denied the chance to show his full qualities on Lions tours – returning home in 1980 and 1983 early through injury.

And, having started all three Tests in 2009 as one of the tourists’ stand-out players, before appearing in Brisbane and Sydney this summer, Mike Phillips also warrants a place on this list. 

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