British & Irish Lions Tour News – Best Lions team over 40 years

With the 2017 British and Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand starting in June, and the 1st Test in Auckland on June 24th, SportsNewsIRELAND looks back in time and picks our top Lions Team from 1977 to 2013.
15. GAVIN HASTINGS (Scotland)
A two-time Test performer with the Lions, Hastings was part of the winning side in side in Australia in 1989. He captained the team in New Zealand and scored 66 points in the Test Matches

Another player more noted for the full back position, Halfpenny is a solid winger as well and moves to 14 for the team. A prominent with an exceptional scoring rate, he’ll be vital again in 2017.

13. JEREMY GUSCOTT (England)
Guscott was the quiet, tough runner who put his body for the team and was consistent. Known for this partnership with Will Carling in England, he outshone him in the red shirt.

The top scorer in Australia in 2001, two years before his famous drop goal won the World Cup in the same country. Wilkinson’s kicking was legendary but he was also comfortable at inside centre.

11. JASON ROBINSON (England)
Lightening quick with brilliant footwork, Robinson only transferred from Rugby League six months before the 2001 Lions Tour. He scored a memorable try in Australia taking to the new code quickly.

10. OLLIE CAMPBELL (Ireland)
There were many contenders for this jersey, including Irish players, but Campbell stood out. The main man during two tours in 1980 and 1983, he made seven test appearances.

9. MATT DAWSON (England)
Dawson was a top-drawer scrum half who made players like Jonny Wilkinson and Gregor Townsend excel. Scored a great try in the 1997 Tour in South Africa.

The 1980 South African Tour was the ‘pinnacle’ of his career as he featured in all four Tests and scored a try in the final test. Featured three years earlier in New Zealand and played eight games.

PETER WHEELER (England) Another to feature in 1977 and 1980 Tours, Wheeler was one of the best technical hookers in the game. The tough battler is still involved at administrative level in rugby but played as well as any.

Made 12 consecutive test appearances between 1977 and 1983 making him the Lions’ most capped forward. Scored a try in the latter tour.

A veteran of three Lions tours, Johnson could do no wrong during the 90s with country or the Lions and captained them to victory in the 1997 trip to South Africa.

Sadly, passed away in 2006 at the age of just 52, Colclough was an ever-present in 1980 and 1983 featuring in all eight Tests over the two campaigns.

JOHN O’DRISCOLL (Ireland) O’Driscoll was a mainstay of the 1980 and 1983 tours starting six tests. Described as a ‘colossus’ by team mates, he also deputised as unofficial team doctor in South Africa.

NEIL BACK (England)
Became the oldest Lion in history when he faced New Zealand in 2005, that was his third and final trip. Started five test matches and scored a try.

One of the great characters, he was Ireland’s original number eight and toured in New Zealand in 1977. One of rugby’s hard men, he was also one of the first players ever sent off in the Five Nations.


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