1993 Lions Tour to New Zealand

The 1993 Lions tour to New Zealand was the last tour before the game went fully professional. The team was captained by Gavin Hastings, coached for the second time by Ian McGeechan and managed by Geoff Cooke, the Lions looked to have an even chance when they set off for the southern hemisphere. However they lost a tight series 2-1.

England who were the dominant force in Home Unions rugby at the time of the tour supplied 17 of the 30 players who began the tour and seven of the pack that contested the second and third Tests, in Brian Moore, Jason Leonard, Martin Johnson, Martin Bayfield, Ben Clarke, Peter Winterbottom and Dean Richards. While Dewi Morris and Rob Andrew continued their England half-back combination, the three-quarters had more of a Celtic look with Hastings, Ieuan Evans and Scott Gibbs all making their presence felt.

The midweek team struggled for both form and identity, but the established Saturday side looked good going into the Tests. However, the Lions got off to the worst possible start, conceding a controversial try inside two minutes as Evans and Frank Bunce both landed over the try line claiming possession of Grant Foxs high kick. They battled back to play some excellent rugby in the second half and take an 18-17 lead with a minute to play thanks to six Hastings penalties, only for New Zealand to win 20-18 with a highly controversial penalty Fox converted with the final kick of the game. The Lions recovered to hit back in style, winning the second Test 20-7, a Rory Underwood try and Bayfields domination of the lineout the highlights of their biggest ever win against New Zealand. The All Blacks had played poorly, though and therefore had the ability to improve significantly in the decider. They did just that and, although the Lions began by building a 10-point lead, Sean Fitzpatricks men ran away with the game after the break to finish emphatic 30-13 winners.