British Lions – 1903 South Africa

The British Isles returned to South Africa for the third time in 1903, captained by Mark Morrison and coached by Johnny Hammond who had toured twice before, once as captain.

The tourists found that the game had moved on markedly as they went down 1-0 in the three match series with two draws. This series also was the first when they did not win the majority of the provincial games as they returned home with a 50% record. The test games sequence was a 10-10 draw at Wanderers ground Johannesburg, followed by a 0-0 draw at Kimberley, the final test in Cape Town in the mud at Newlands and 8-0, two tries and a conversion to nil was the losing margin.So a first test series win for South Africa who would go 25 years before losing another home series.

This tour was built on what was thought to be a powerful pack but as would happen frequently in South Africa thereafter they failed to achieve parity let alone dominance and with the squad lacking real flair in the backs they were always on the back foot, especially as they lost the first three match’s, though they were unlucky to lose the first test.