Lions History

Historical Events

1930: New Zealand and Australia

by Stevie Geddes | May 16, 2013
The New Zealand leg of the 1930 Lions tour was eventful to say the least. The tourists won their first Test in the country, made the All Blacks play in All White and survived the sort of split in the ranks that fractured the 2001 party in Australia.

The New Zealand leg of the 1930 Lions tour was eventful to say the least. The tourists won their first Test in the country, made the All Blacks play in All White and survived the sort of split in the ranks that fractured the 2001 party in Australia.

 

Captained by Leicester forward Doug Prentice, the Lions lost the Test series against the All Blacks 3-1, and were also defeated in the single international they played in Australia, yet left their mark on their hosts in all manner of ways.

 

Their 6-3 victory in the first Test – New Zealand’s first defeat at Carisbrook – came courtesy of an epic try scored in the last minute by wing Jack Morley and created by flanker Ivor Jones, the star of the tour and the man dubbed ‘The King’ by New Zealanders 40 years before Barry John set foot in the country.

 

The All Blacks also played in all white for the first time in that match, switching to avoid a colour class with the dark blue of the visitors in a move that was seen as a national crisis.

 

They recovered their powers for the rest of the series, however, and after two narrow victories in the second and third Tests, ran away with the fourth to win 22-8.

 

The Lions’ collapse came as no surprise to the ‘Rank and File’ among the party – the members of a private club formed among those who did not make the Test side and were disgruntled by the favourable treatment offered the stars by manager James ‘Bim’ Baxter.

 

Baxter was less accommodating of his hosts and spent the entire tour locking horns over everything from the New Zealand habit of leaving the field at half-time to the use of the roving ‘wing-forward’ acting as a disruptive influence outside the scrum.

 

The manager may have won his war against the rover, using his influence on the International Board to effectively outlaw the position the following year, but never quite succeeded in persuading his players to take the game as seriously as their opponents.

 

After one team-talk asking the players to give “more thought to football” than entertainment, forward Mick Dunne put up his hand to ask if that meant he was still okay to go flying with a famous “aviatrix” by the name of Miss Clifford. “Unfortunately,” Dunne recounted, “Bim thought it unwise, so I had to cancel the appointment.”

 

Adapted from the forthcoming book The Lions: The Complete History of the British and Irish Rugby Union Team

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