Lions all-time XV – Loosehead prop

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 installment of this series looking at the loosehead prop: 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 – Loosehead prop

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 installment of this series looking at the loosehead prop: 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.

There are a long line of Scottish looseheads with David Sole and Tom Smith most recently writing their name into Lions folklore but it is the man they called Mighty Mouse that began the tradition.

Ian McLauchlan was the starting loosehead on the 1971 Tour of New Zealand and again three years later in the Invincibles tour of South Africa in 1974.

Of those eight Tests, the Lions lost just once and the sturdy Scot’s impact in the front row cannot be underestimated, this was a golden age for the Lions who have never since beaten New Zealand or indeed finished a tour unbeaten.

He was not expected to play in the Test series against New Zealand in 1971, but Sandy Carmichael was punched out of the tour during a brutal encounter against Canterbury and as a result McLauchlan started all four Tests, scoring the only try in the first.

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In the 1974 series against the Springboks while the Scot was packing down at loosehead and England’s Fran Cotton was the man given the nod at tighthead.

And it is the versatile Englishman who also deserves recognition for his work as a loosehead, forming one of the most destructive front rows of all-time alongside Graham Price in New Zealand in 1977.

And Cotton’s Lions heritage doesn't end there as he also managed the side in 1997 which went back to South Africa to beat the Springboks once more.

Another versatile Englishman deserves a mention here in Jason Leonard who went on three tours between 1993 and 2001, starting all three Tests in New Zealand.

The World Cup winner could do a job on the tighthead side, as he showed in such impressive fashion in the second Test in New Zealand, and his versatility made him a key cog on three different Lions tours.

Smith was another man to impress on tour with Leonard, the Scot helping the Lions to an-era defining series win in 1997 in South Africa.

Despite being a stone lighter and much shorter than Springbok tight head Adrian Garvey, Smith refused to budge and proved a vital component in their series win.

The Boks placed a huge importance on the scrum and it was Smith who came up with the goods when the tourists needed it most.

He also started all three Tests in Australia four years later and although the tourists could not claim victory, the Scot again shone with his performances at scrum-time and in open play. 

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