British & Irish Lions History: Since 1888

British & Irish Lions History: Since 1888

The First Captain: Robert Seddon


Robert Seddon, who was born near Salford and played for Broughton Rangers, remains to this day as one of the most iconic figures to have ever toured – his spirit and determination to lead his players in 1888 is ingrained in the history of The British & Irish Lions.

He is the first ever touring captain of the Lions – but on the ground-breaking tour in 1888 he died in a sculling accident in New South Wales.

Following his tragic boating accident, Seddon’s funeral took place in West Maitland; with the service attracting more than 150 Australian rugby players from local clubs – all wore their team’s respective colours.

As a mark of respect, the team decided to continue with their tour of Australia, with Andrew Stoddart taking over the armband.

The Australian press reported that Seddon had ‘made himself exceedingly popular during the time he had been in the colonies and his death has caused a painful sensation’.

Sam Warburton visits Seddon’s grave during The 2013 British & Irish Lions tour

The 1888 tourists’ legacy was recognised by the International Rugby Board in 2013 when the team, along with skipper Seddon, were inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.

In the same year the 2013 Lions tourists, led by Welshman Sam Warburton, paid their own moving tribute, visiting his grave on their tour of Australia.


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