Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


Lions tour 1977

1977 - Graham Price Peter Wheeler and Fran Cotton of the British Lions

Graham Price, Peter Wheeler and Fran Cotton

1977 - JJ Williams of the British Lions dives past New Zealands Grant Batty to score in the second Test

JJ Williams dives past New Zealand's Grant Batty to score in the second Test

1977 - British and Irish Lions squad

The British and Irish Lions squad

21st April 2013 14:28


1977 - British Lions captain Phil Bennett

British and Irish Lions captain Phil Bennett

Phil Bennett was named captain of the side which was coached by 1971 captain John Dawes and managed by George Burnell.

Ian McGeechan was part of an attack-minded squad that lost just one of the 21 provincial games they were involved in and were unlucky not to at least draw the series.

Eight provincial matches passed with no problems until they faced a New Zealand Universities team four days before the first Test and succumbed to a 12-9 defeat.

The losing mentality seemed to follow the Lions into the first Test as they slumped to defeat.

A violent second Test was settled by a JJ Williams try for the Lions after Bennett and his Kiwi counterpart Bryan Williams went kick-for-kick in scoring three penalties each.

The Lions held on to win 13-9 and square the series up with two to play.

A dreadful Lions kicking display followed in the third Test as they missed six of their seven attempts, with Andy Irvine being the only successful player to land a penalty.

The All Blacks had no such problems with Bruce Robertson scoring a drop goal and Bev Wilson scoring two penalties and a conversion after tries from Andy Haden and Ian Kirkpatrick. Willie Duggan replied with a try of his own for the Lions but they could not carry on their form from the second Test and went down 19-7.

The tourists headed into the final Test needing a win to draw the series.

Knowing only a win would do the Lions turned in a fantastic display that made New Zealand resort to a three-man scrum.

Doug Morgan scored all nine points for the Lions as he converted his own try and then scored a penalty whilst New Zealand were stranded on six points with Bev Morgan scoring two penalties.

As the game drew closer to the end the Lions could almost touch a series draw when Lawrie Knight went over to score a try that broke the visitors' hearts in injury time.

The Lions were still disheartened by the defeat when they played the Fijian national team on the way home. A tired Lions team lost 25-21 in the first ever meeting between the teams.1977

May 18 v Wairarapa-Bush W 41-13
May 21 v Hawke's Bay W 13-11
May 25 v Poverty Bay-East Coast W 25-6
May 28 v Taranaki W 21-13
June 1 v King Country-Wanganui W 60-9
June 4 v Manawatu-Horowhenua W 18-12
June 8 v Otago W 12-7
June 11 v Southland W 20-12
June 14 v New Zealand Universities L 9-12
June 18 v New Zealand L 12-16
June 22 v Hanan Shield Districts W 45-6
June 25 v Canterbury W 14-13
June 29 v West Coast-Buller W 45-0
July 2 v Wellington W 13-6
July 5 v Marlborough-Nelson Bays W 40-23
July 9 v New Zealand W 13-9
July 13 v New Zealand Maoris W 22-19
July 16 v Waikato W 18-13
July 20 v New Zealand Juniors W 19-9
July 23 v Auckland W 34-15
July 30 v New Zealand L 7-19
August 3 v Counties-Thames Valley W 35-10
August 6 v North Auckland W 18-7
August 9 v Bay of Plenty W 23-16
August 13 v New Zealand L 9-10
August 16 v Fiji L 21-25