Lions History

Historical Events

1936: Argentina

by by David Walmsley - Genesis Publications | May 15, 2013 | May 16, 2013
The 1936 Lions blazed another trail of record results throughout their nine-game tour of Argentina, even though they had been forced to cut their shipboard training short after Prince Obolensky kicked all their balls over the side of the boat.

The 1936 Lions blazed another trail of record results throughout their nine-game tour of Argentina, even though they had been forced to cut their shipboard training short after Prince Obolensky kicked all their balls over the side of the boat.

Having scored his famous tries against New Zealand the previous season, Obolensky was the tour’s star attraction, although he lost out in the try-scoring stakes to uncapped Army wing (and 1938 Lion) Jim Unwin, who grabbed 14 in eight appearances.

Led by England captain Bernard Gadney, the squad included 11 internationals and were managed by 1930 captain Doug Prentice.

The Lions form peaked when a second set of balls, heavier than the local variety, arrived from England to replace the ones Obolensky had lost. They immediately ran in 15 tries with the new balls in a record 62-0 defeat of Pacific Railway Athletic Club.

Several of the games were “of a vigorous order”, although the Lions rarely needed to show their claws. One spectator wrote to the Buenos Aires Herald after the tour’s lone Test to report: “In a loose scrum, I distinctly saw [Gilbert] Logan of the Argentinians strike [George] Beamish of the British full in the face with his closed fist. The impertinence of the act is the outstanding point.

“Beamish is I should say the strongest and huskiest of all the British forwards and the fact that he did not retaliate in like manner can only attributed to the fact that he felt sorry for Logan.”

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

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