The 2005 Lions tour to New Zealand, saw the red shirt carry sponsors Zurich Financial Services on the torso and has shown that even in the professional era there is a place for the Lions, as an estimated 30,000 fans travelled down under. The tour left with high expectations managed by former England international Bill Beaumont and coached by former England coach Sir Clive Woodward. Unfortunately it never lived up to the billing and lost the test series emphatically 3-0. Despite having a massive support structure and supposed strong squad.
The writing for the tour downfall could have been on the wall as they struggled in Cardiff to a draw against Argentina 25-25 prior to departure. They then went on to narrow wins in their first 2 games in New Zealand before going down the NZ Maori 19-13. They did go on to win all the other games outside the tests, with only one against Manawatu being convincing.
The first test was marred by the incident when Brian O’Driscoll was spear tackled and injured taking no further part in the game or the tour. The All Blacks going on to win 21-3. The second test and things got no better as the Lions went down 48-18. The third and final test and the Lions lost 38-19. The tour confirmed that the Kiwis were moving ahead of the Northern Hemisphere in terms of development.