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John Griffiths | Columnist Index
John Griffiths is a widely respected rugby historian and is the author of several sports books, including The Book of English International Rugby, The Book of International Rugby Records, British Lions, The Five Nations Championship, Rugby's Strangest Matches and Rugby's Greatest Characters. He was a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph for 19 years and is co-author of the IRB International Rugby Yearbook. He has also provided insight for Scrum.com since 1999.
Ask John
Record comebacks and players to have featured for and against the Lions
John Griffiths
September 12, 2012
Lions centre Riki Flutey stretches the Royal XV defence, Royal XV v British & Irish Lions, Royal Bakofeng Stadium, Rustenburg, South Africa, May 30, 2009
Riki Flutey is one of only two players to have appeared for and against a genuine Lions tour team © Getty Images
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Welcome to the latest edition of Ask John where renowned rugby historian John Griffiths will answer any rugby-related query you have!

So, if there's something you've always wanted to know about the game we love but didn't know who to ask, or you think you can stump our expert - then get involved by sending us a question.

In this edition, John looks focuses on some of the greatest comebacks, players to have featured for and against the British & Irish Lions, the oldest player to have faced the All Blacks and the careers of Archie Drummond and Robert Scohy.

Harlequins overhauled a 27-point deficit scoring 29 points without reply at the recent Twickenham double-header to launch this season's Premiership. Are these records? Graham, England

The Twickenham season-opener was one of the most memorable comebacks of the past 20 years:

1993 at Athletic Park, Wellington
The Maori led the British & Irish Lions 20-0 and nearly went further in front. It was still 20-3 against the Lions with 15 minutes left when Jason Leonard came on to stir the pack. The tourists came back to win 24-20 with tries from Ieuan Evans and Rory Underwood.

1997 at Twickenham
England were 20-6 up in their Five Nations match against France before conceding 17 points without reply in the last 30 minutes. It was England's worst-ever Test half-hour at Twickenham as Christophe Lamaison guided the French to a vivid 23-20 win.

1999 in Buenos Aires
In the early days of Graham Henry's time with Wales they found themselves 23-0 behind after 30 minutes in a Test against Argentina. But the Welsh raised their game scoring 36 points against three to finally win 36-26

1999 at Twickenham
Lamaison again masterminded a French recovery when they put 33 unanswered points on the All Blacks in a RWC semi-final at Twickenham. NZ led comfortably at 24-10 early in the second half before France went into an unassailable 43-24 lead, only a late converted All Blacks try making it 43-31 to France at the final count.

2001 at Rotherham
The home side led Newcastle 36-13 in an April Premiership match only to concede 26 points unanswered and lose 39-36 as they headed for relegation.

2011 at Cardiff
In the biggest comeback in Heineken Cup Final history Leinster trailed Northampton 22-6 at half-time before scoring 27 points without reply to run out winners by 33-22.

2012 at Twickenham
In the opening game of the Premiership season Wasps, who had narrowly escaped relegation the previous season, opened a 40-13 lead before champions Harlequins bounced back scoring 29 unanswered points to win 42-40. New comeback records for the Premiership.

Who is the oldest player to take the field in a match against the All Blacks? Martin Smith, England

Hard to say exactly.

One of the oldest must be Douglas Lorne "Buzz" Moore who appeared for British Columbia Mainland on March 13, 1954 against Bob Stuart's All Blacks at Vancouver and ten years later (on February 24, 1964) captained British Columbia against Wilson Whineray's side when he was in his 43rd year. The All Blacks won both matches.

Moore was a member of the Meralomas club in Vancouver and first won representative honours for Vancouver and B.C. in 1938. He led B.C on their tour of Japan in 1958 and in the autumn of 1962 captained the first Canadian national side for sixty years to tour Britain. He also undertook the coaching duties on that trip.

He was a 6ft, 15st prop forward.

How many players have played both for and against the Lions, and what fixtures were they involved in? I think there have been: Riki Flutey (Wellington 2005) JPR, Gerald Davies, Gareth Edwards, Ray Gravell and David Richards (Barbarians 1977) Ken Jones and possibly others (Wales XV 1955). Paul Johns, New Zealand

The only players to appear for and against genuine Lions tour teams are Tom Reid and Riki Flutey.

Reid was an Irish international who toured South Africa with the 1955 Lions before later settling in Canada. He played No 8 for the Eastern Canada side that met the 1959 Lions on their way home from a visit to Australia and New Zealand.

Flutey came on as a substitute for Wellington in their 23-6 defeat by the 2005 Lions. After coming to Britain and winning caps for England he was selected for the 2009 Lions party that toured South Africa, where he appeared in six matches including the final Test which the Lions won 28-9. The only official match played by a Lions tour party on British/Irish soil was the Test with Argentina at Cardiff in 2005.

The stars you mention (except Ken Jones who played for a Lions-styled side) appeared on British soil against what might be called scratch "Lions" teams, admittedly in higher-profile matches than the countless scratch "Lions" matches that have been staged down the years in the UK, but none were part of a side that played an officially-recognised Lions tour party team.

JPR Williams, Gerald Davies, Gareth Edwards, Ray Gravell and David Richards were all past or future Lions who played for the Barbarians in the sell-out 1977 match at Twickenham to mark HM The Queen's Silver Jubilee. It's true the Lions XV comprised members of the party that had toured New Zealand and Fiji under Phil Bennett earlier that summer, but the match is not officially recognised as part of the 1977 Lions tour record.

The 1955 Welsh XV v Lions XV match was staged at Cardiff to mark the 75th anniversary of the WRU. The only member of that Lions scratch side who had not toured South Africa with Robin Thompson's team earlier that year was Wales's Ken Jones, a 1950 Lion. The Welsh XV included the future Lion Ray Prosser while Trevor Lloyd, Bryn Meredith and Courtenay Meredith had been on the 1955 trip.

The 1950 Lions reconvened to play Cardiff in September 1951 to mark the Welsh club's 75th anniversary. The Cardiff side included Cliff Davies, Rex Willis, Jack Matthews and Bleddyn Williams who had been 1950 Lions and Haydn Morris and Cliff Morgan who were Lions in 1955.

The only other high-profile match played by a Lions side on British soil was in 1986 at Cardiff against the Rest of the World to mark the centenary of the International Board.

If he is still alive, Archie Drummond would be the oldest surviving Scotland international. Do you know whether he is still living? Colin McKinnon, Australia

Archibald Hugh Drummond was born on April 2, 1915 in the Hillhead district of Glasgow. He played for Kelvinside Academicals and won two caps on the right-wing in Scotland's 1938 Triple Crown side, playing at Murrayfield against Wales and Ireland. He kicked a first-half penalty goal and scored a second-half try in the win over Ireland.

He died in the Borders (Jedburgh) on September 16, 1990, aged 75.

Do you know if Robert Scohy, born 1909, (France 1931) is still living? Mike Thomas, England

Robert Scohy was a forward in the last French pack before they were expelled from the Five Nations Championship in the 1930s. He practised as a dental surgeon in Oloron Sainte-Marie where he passed away on June 23, 2001 aged 92.

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