1966 Lions visited Australia, New Zealand & Canada

The 1966 tour was led by Mike Campbell-Lamerton and visited Australia, New Zealand & Canada. Although they won the test series in Australia 2-0 the New Zealand leg was lost 0-4. The Lions also played a test in Canada which unsurprisingly they won.

These Lions were being talked about as potentially among the very best, but their bubble burst immediately on arrival in New Zealand. They lost their opening game to unfancied Southland and were defeated in three of their first five.

The tourists arrived during a golden age of New Zealand rugby, with the All Blacks in the midst of the unbeaten reign of coach Fred Allen. All four Tests were lost, three of them by substantial margins. After tasting defeat by 20-3 in the series opener, the Lions rallied to lead 9-8 at half-time in the second international and at the death were only a stray pass away from turning their 16-12 loss into a narrow victory. They were also level at the break in the third Test at 6-6 but failed to score in the second period and went down 19-6 in the end. The dominance of the All Black pack was underlined in the 24-11 win that sealed the whitewash, and although they beat Canada 19-8 on the way home, defeat by British Columbia completed the Lions’ gloom.

The tourists had a quality back line with stand-off David Watkins and centre Mike Gibson, while the pack boasted players of the class of Willie John McBride, Alun Pask, Brian Price, Jim Telfer, Ray McLoughlin, Ronnie Lamont and Noel Murphy. They went unbeaten through Australia, winning the Tests 11-8 and 31-0, the first thanks to McLoughlin getting his team out of jail and the second through a five-try rampage.

Mike Gibson
Mike Gibson