Friday, May 31, 2013

The British Lions vs the Barbarians at Twickenham in 1977

The British & Irish Lions 2013 tour starts this weekend with a historic match against the Barbarians in Hong Kong. Today we look back to 1977 when the two famous sides met at Twickenham as part of the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebration.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's game, Lions centre Jamie Roberts was relishing the occasion.

"It's a massive exhibition match for the game of rugby. For probably the two most famous invitational teams in world rugby to come together and play each other is quite unique. It hasn't happened many times in our history, and to have it in a setting such as Hong Kong is going to be amazing. For the rugby watching world, it's such a huge event," said Roberts.

In 1977 the two sides came together following the Lions' tour of New Zealand. The match was billed as a charity fund-raiser, and indeed over £100 000 was raised, but it was a serious contest.

It was the Lions' first official home match and just three weeks after their 26 match tour, so they were match fit, and at full strength. The Barbarians featured Welshmen JPR Williams, Gerald Davies and Gareth Edwards, as well as the French Grand Slam winning loose trio of Jean-Pierre Rives, Jean-Claude Skrela and Jean Pierre Bastiat.

Lions XV:
Andy Irvine, Peter Squires, Steve Fenwick, Ian McGeechan, Gareth Evans, Phil Bennett, Dougie Morgan, Fran Cotton, Peter Wheeler, Graham Price, Bill Beaumont, Gordon Brown, Derick Quinnell, Willie Duggan, Tony Neary

Barbarians F.C:
JPR Williams, Gerald Davies, Ray Gravell, Charles Kent, Dave McKay, David Richards, Gareth Edwards, Barry Nelmes, Duncan Madsen, Mike Knill, Bob Wilkinson, G.A.D Wheel, Jean-Pierre Rives, Jean-Claude Skrela, Jean Pierre Bastiat

It was a fantastic game of rugby, with both sides having a full go and the Lions winning 23-14.

Time: 5:25
Credit: givesy123

Posted by Rugbydump at 7:50 am | View Comments (23)

Posted in British & Irish Lions 2013

Viewing 23 comments

vinnie gorham May 31, 2013 2:41 pm

When I was making this video, I couldn't help thinking, WOW this was an awesome match! one of my favourites, So excited for tomorrow! except the Lions will win by at least 50

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Carson1091 May 31, 2013 2:43 pm

Also, never tire of hearing some classic Mclaren!

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stroudos May 31, 2013 3:55 pm

Ah, halcyon days. Nice to see some of the famous names of rugby in action. An awesome showcase of flowing rugby. Blokes expecting and executing offloads, backs picking and running incisive angles, props dummying and popping the ball up off the deck for their support.

Makes you wonder what happened to the game, why that flair and panache is less often seen these days, (I would acknowledge this is a 5 minute clip from a classic match, but even so). Is it professionalism = less risk-taking? Is it the fact everyone got so massive? I notice the lions centre being described as "the big man" looks about thirteen-and-a-half stone.

There is just so much to enjoy about this video, not least of course the voice of Bill McLaren. Also, some of the beards and taches are supreme. Couple of moments of people smashing their oppo in the tackle then checking they're ok.

But my favourite part has to be the touch judges wearing blazers - please can someone get onto the IRB - bring these back at once!

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Tc May 31, 2013 9:31 pm

Nostalgia ain't what it used to be eh!

You can pick many games or moments of brilliance that stand out from any era. It's easy to view this with rosé tinted specs, but the game is much faster, technically better and I think a better spectator sport all round these days. It just evolves from defence to attack being dominant.

You forget that amongst the gems, there were some really drab affairs and a couple of side steps aside, is it really the amateur ethos you crave?

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Canadian content June 01, 2013 6:41 pm

Not sure I agree with you, lll show these clips to a non rugby fan and everyone can appreciate the wide open spirit the games were played with in the 70's, even if they don't know the game. I'd rather see rives popping up all over the place rather and irvine attempting a chest pass anyday, then a well executed pick and go, followed by the supporting forward flopping on the ruck.

The biggest difference is just that, everyone is way bigger and faster, the pitch almost seems smaller now because in a way it is. Professionalism certainly has had its share of negativity as well

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Tc June 01, 2013 7:46 pm

The biggest difference between the modern style and these old games is that defences are now organised. The pressing rugby league style defence changed the amount of time and space players have on the ball. The defence is so ragged in this clip, it's no suprise players can jink all over the place. Put modern players in this environment and they would impress also

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footylads May 31, 2013 4:19 pm

these where the days

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ruckinmaul May 31, 2013 6:59 pm

I'm sorry, can someone please tell me, why Gerald Davies and JPR Williams were on the Babas team instead of Lions on that game? They are not selected for the Lions?

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Rugbydump May 31, 2013 7:13 pm

They didn't tour with the Lions as things weren't professional back then, and they had to do exams. The tour was a mammoth three months long.

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ruckinmaul May 31, 2013 7:31 pm

thank you RD! Really don't know about rugby back then. and I'm sure, some of those players's grandson are about my age.

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gwright May 31, 2013 7:31 pm

That's gorgeous rugby. They had to split up the Welsh to make it even! The commentary is superb, but maybe my favorite part was seeing the touch judge wearing a blazer and rugby shorts

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chris June 04, 2013 5:42 pm

Exactly , me too !!

I almost imagined them fully suited with shinny black shoes and a bow tie !!

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Frenchie May 31, 2013 8:57 pm

Did i see it correctly towards the end of the clip? Is the touch ref a wearing a black blazer with white short and jersey? Class!

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Canadian content May 31, 2013 11:35 pm

Ok, I've seen highlights of the rest of the players in this match except for rives before, who I've read was very good. After watching this clip I think he was an amazing player. He seemed to be at every barbarians breakdown, supporting 2 times in the same movement. He was brilliant!

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Chris June 01, 2013 7:28 am

The goal kicks with that ball and from that range were more than impressive!

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Droops June 01, 2013 9:17 am

I'm not being funny, but I've never watched a game from the 70s with as much fast flowing play, skillfull offloading, graceful side-stepping and well worked backs moves.

Or maybe it was just the sideburns and mullets flowing in the breeze that made it look so fast!

Seriously miss old Bill McLaren's commentary- adds so much to the occasion.

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Canadian content June 01, 2013 6:34 pm

The long sleeves made them look like kids!

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marcher87 June 02, 2013 1:23 am

Dear rugbydump

please do not refer to this team as the "British Lions". Just because the British people at that time refused to acknowledge us in the name of the team does not mean it is ok to do it now.... it's not much to ask to add the two words "and Irish" into the name


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Pipo June 03, 2013 10:18 am

Don't the British islands include Ireland (both northern and southern entities)?? I am pretty sure they do.

Back then the team was called the British Lions, a correct name for a team from both countries from a geographical point of view. It wasn't until ca. 2000 (I think) that the name was changed to refer to both political entities, the UK and the Rep. of Ireland.

I am neither Irish or from the UK, but frankly, since the term British includes Ireland geographically (Google it up!), I don't see the need to include Irish in the name.

I'm guessing you are Irish since you brought this up, is it really that much of a deal? To me, it sounds like if, for instance, UK players wanted the European Ryder Cup team (golf) to be called UK and Europe, instead of just Europe.

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Colombes June 03, 2013 1:37 pm

Some epic name-droppings in this match

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Roger June 12, 2013 7:58 pm

Gareth Edwards, JPR and Gerald Davies did not tour as JPR and Gerald had exams and Gareth wanted to show some loyalty to the company he worked for back then as he had already gone on 3 Lions tours and wanted to repay the loyalty shown to him. What a Baa baas back row, Skrela Rives and Bastiat. Great players. In fact 31 great players inc. Elgan Rees who came on as replacement.

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fiona September 07, 2013 1:16 pm

Could someone please tell me on what date this match was played?

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Len March 08, 2014 9:20 pm

What a superb review of the match - I was really pleased to see a little of Charles Kent. His name suddenly came to mind, but of whom I could find any other footage or any photos. I can remember the commentator of the time in the match he played against Scotland, which must have been in 1977 referring to Charles Kent "on the crash ball." I think he scoered a tryin that match. It was such a pity that he gave up rugby for his career. Even more saddened by his passing away as such a relatively young age. Lovely to see so many great players, playing some scintillating rugby.

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