Saturday 23 September 2017

The Lions and deciders - how they've fared

Jeremy Guscott. Photo: Getty
Jeremy Guscott. Photo: Getty Sportdesk

1903 - Lions lose 1-0 in South Africa

After two successive draws - the second a 0-0 stalemate - the Lions entered the decider in Cape Town. Two tries swept the Springboks to victory and inflicted upon the Lions a maiden series defeat having prevailed on all four previous tours.

1910 - Lions lose 2-1 in South Africa

The Lions' return proved equally unsuccessful despite taking the series to a decider with an 8-3 win in Port Elizabeth. Cape Town was the setting once more as Tommy Smyth's tourists were crushed 21-5.

1989 - Lions win 2-1 in Australia

The Lions' first visit to Australia for 19 years and their first dedicated tour of the country since 1899 teetered on the brink of disaster after a 30-12 mauling in the first Test. Changes were made - among them Jeremy Guscott, Rob Andrew and Mike Teague - and successive wins came.

1993 - Lions lose 2-1 in New Zealand

The last Lions tour of the amateur era was a case of what might have been. A dubious late penalty cost them victory in the first Test before a 20-7 win in Wellington set up a decider but they were beaten 30-13 at Eden Park.

2001 - Lions lose 2-1 in Australia

The Lions dared to dream after crushing the Wallabies 29-13 in the first Test, Brian O'Driscoll and Jason Robinson running in memorable tries, but they unravelled a week later with Nathan Grey's elbow on Richard Hill that ended the influential England flanker's series acting as the catalyst for a 35-14 loss. The Sydney decider was a nail-biter that saw the Lions botch a late attacking lineout to succumb 29-23.

2013 - Lions win 2-1 in Australia

The rivals were hard to separate over the first two Tests, the Brisbane opener lit up by George North's Jonah Lomu-esque try. The build-up to the decider centred on Warren Gatland's contentious decision to drop O'Driscoll for Jonathan Davies, a call that was in part justified by a resounding 41-16 triumph which avenged the heartache of 12 years earlier. The Lions were magnificent in one of their finest performances.

Irish Independent

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