Unrepentant Lions win the Battle of Brisbane
Jeremy Guscott goes over for the Lions during their 19-12 win in 1989 © Getty Images
Gavin Hastings and Jerry Guscott scored late tries as the Lions beat Australia 19-12 in Brisbane to level their three-Test series. But it was a fairly brutal match punctuated by punching and kicking and in the first half Cardiff prop David Young was fortunate not to be sent off for stamping on Steve Cutler, an incident which triggered a mass brawl which last for almost two minutes. Both teams closed ranks in the post-game media conferences but Australia's coach Bob Dwyer said; "We're ready for anything." Lions skipper Finlay Calder admitted: "We got stuck in. It's a contact sport first and last. If you're commited you win the ball, if you stand off you're lost."
Another feisty encounter as the Lions eased to a 25-3 win against Taranaki at New Plymouth. In sunshine and in front of a crowd of 20,000, both teams regularly clashed and a number of players were warned by the referee without much effect. Ken Jones and Bleddyn Williams, the Welsh three-quarters, each scored a brace of tries.
RFU president and former Lion Stanley Couchman called for life bans on violent players at the RFU AGM. "the time for talking has passed," he said. "For persistent offenders no penalty is too severe and he should be removed from rugby altogether. He is a danger to the game and a danger to himself."
The Lions were so beset by injuries that Welsh back-rower John Faull had to play on the wing. He made a good fist of the emergency, however, scoring a try in the tourists' 21-11 win against a Combined XV at Timaru. But the scoreline flattered the visitors who only led 3-0 at the break, and it was only at the line-out where their superiority really counted.
Welsh sprinter Johnnie 'Bach' Williams grabbed a brace of tries for the Anglo-Welsh in their 12-3 victory over Manawatu/Horowhenua at Palmerston North. Williams, who finished the tour as the leading points scorer, was killed in the early days of the Battle of the Somme in 1916 while serving with the 38th (Welsh) Infantry Division.
The first meeting of South Africa and Australia took place at Newlands in Cape Town and was on by the home side 17-3. The Australians left home in mid May for the marathon five-Test series and did not return home until late September - and it's worth remembering these were all amateur players. Four of South Africa's all-time greats - Danie Craven (try); Gerry Brand (penalty and conversion), Bennie Osler (try) and Ferdie Bergh (two tries) shared the points in the win.
France broke new ground playing on New Zealand soil for the first time. Their tour opened with a 29-11 win against a Combined XV at Nelson. The tour came before any of the home nations had visited New Zealand.