5 Things You May Not Have Known About The Lions

The Lions first toured in 1888.

The squad drew players from England, Scotland and Wales, though English players predominated. Five years later the Irish were invited to join the party, creating what we now know and love today- The British & Irish Lions.

We could probably ramble on for days with interesting facts, bringing you through the storied history of the Lions from 1888 all the way up until 2017, but no one wants that.

Instead we’ve picked out five of the best and most interesting.

5 things you may not have known about the Lions

1. The first pride of Lions to tour Australia didn’t just play rugby union against their hosts. The 1888 tourists played 16 games in Australia and 19 in New Zealand but they also took part in 19 matches of Aussie Rules Football.

2. Canterbury have taken over as official kit suppliers in 2017, but their relationship with the British & Irish Lions dates back to the 1959 tour of New Zealand. During the tour Canterbury produced their first Lions shirt, answering the call for a new strip after it was spoiled in a prior encounter, cementing their reputation for producing innovative and durable rugby apparel.

3. Sam Warburton’s appointment as captain for the 2017 tour saw The Lions follow a familiar pattern. Warburton’s selection means that the two most recent tours have been led by a Welshman, with the two previous tours skippered by an Irishman, the two before that an Englishman and the two before that captained by Scotsmen.

4. Willie John McBride has played more games for the Lions than anyone else. The Irish second-row wore Lions colours on 68 occasions across five tours in 1962, 1966, 1968, 1971 and 1974.

5. Lewis Jones is the only Lion to have scored a ‘full house’ in a Test match on tour. A replacement when The Lions travelled to Australia and New Zealand in 1950, the Welsh teenager scored two conversions, two penalties, a drop goal and a try in the first Test win over the Wallabies.

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