1983 Lions Tour New Zealand

The 1983 tour to New Zealand captained by Ireland’s Triple Crown winner Ciaran Fitzgerald, coached by Jim Telfer and managed by Willie John McBride suffered from some strange selections and an itinerary of frightening intensity plus the usual long line of casualties. Roy Laidlaw, taking over at scrum-half after the loss of first Terry Holmes and then Nigel Melville worked well with Ollie Campbell, but the side struggled to develop cohesion in the three-quarters. Losing the test series 4-0.

The All Blacks were a strong team, who had both a powerful pack and an abundance of scoring potential out wide. Nevertheless, the Lions were only outclassed in the final Test, when the series was already lost. The opening test was very close, with New Zealand scoring the only try and edging the kicking competition between Campbell and Allan Hewson to win 16-12. The second Test, the Lions looked clear favourites after they conceded only nine first-half points while playing into the teeth of a Wellington gale. But with the wind in their favour, they failed to convert possession into points and fell to a master-class in playing the conditions, losing by the half-time score of 9-0. Fitzgeralds team actually outscored the All Blacks by two tries to one in the third Test but were still edged out 15-8, before being blown away by an outstanding attacking performance that saw the hosts win the final international 38-6.