1950 Lions First Post War Tour New Zealand & Australia

The 1950 tour to New Zealand & Australia and led by the Ireland hooker Karl Mullen, was the first tour after the long gap for the war years. Although the tourists lost the test series having gone down 0-3 in New Zealand, with 1 draw and then won 2-0 in Australia. The series was an image success and introduced cutting back play.

This tour also saw the Lions arrive with a new kit. The red jerseys having replaced the pre-war navy blue to avoid the colour clash that forced New Zealand to play in white in 1930, something which would be unheard of in the modern era. The Lions played 4 tests in New Zealand, drawing the first test 9-9, but then going down 0-8, 3-6 and finally 8-11. These tests were a competition between the Kiwi’s strong forwards play and the Lions dashing threequarters and set a standard for open attractive rugby as the Lions benchmark. The narrow losses in New Zealand were backed up by a two test win in Australia, 24-3 and 19-6. The full tour win loss list outside the tests was in New Zealand played 18 won 16 lost 2, one of the wins was a game against the New Zealand Maoris which was won 14-9. They only played one game outside the tests in Australia and this was lost to NSW 12-17. During the long journey home the tourists stopped and played a game in Ceylon which was won 44-6.

The stars in the Lions backs were, the Welsh duo centres; Jack Matthews and Bleddyn Williams, with the brave scrumhalf Rex Willis and replacement Welsh prodigy Lewis Jones. However for all their flair in the threequarters they still could not cope with the power rucking form the Kiwis.

Bleddyn Williams
Bleddyn Williams