Lions fume as series turns on controversial tackle
Richard Hill is led off with concussion, the turning point in the 2001 Test and the Lions series © Getty Images
The British & Irish Lions surrendered an 11-6 half-time lead at the Colonial Stadium, Melbourne on their way to a 35-14 defeat to Australia. The Lions were left fuming after Richard Hill was clattered by Nathan Grey, leaving him concussed and after he was replaced they were never the same. Grey was cited for the incident but David Grey, the New Zealand commissioner, said there was no case to answer and refused to give his reasons to the Lions management. Hill wrote in his autobiography: "Most of our guys seemed to think it was malicious and everything I have read since takes the same line, but I am not so sure. " He added he went to hospital for precautionary scans after the match: "They didn't find anything wrong but they did find my skull was thicker than normal." The Australian board, stunned by the sea of red shirts in the crowd at the first Test, had thousands of gold shirts and scarves given out free to spectators, although the plan only partially worked as so many fans took them and put then straight into bags as souvenirs.
In the days before professionalism in rugby union, relations with rugby league were at best only ever hostile, and it took two days of bitter wrangling in over which code would play at the Sydney Cricket Ground the following weekend before union won out. The reason was the union match was against the Springboks and police wanted a ground where they could control increasing disruptive anti-apartheid demonstrations. That night two men were arrested after partially sawing through one of the goalposts at the SCG.
The English flanker Cherry Pillman was in fine kicking form for the Lions, landing six conversions as well as scoring one of their 11 tries in a 45-4 victory against the Transvaal Country XV. Reg Plummer scored a hat-trick of tries for the tourists in Johannesburg.
The French touring side were beaten 23-9 by New Zealand at Lancaster Park in the first Test of a two-match mini-series. For the first time neutral referees were appointed for the series.
The All Blacks, reeling after their 17-0 Test defeat by the Springboks the week before, struggled to hold the North Provinces to an 18-18 draw in Kimberley.
In Australia, Gerry Brand equalled his own Springbok record for most points in a match, kicking 24 points in the tourists' 60-0 win against Toowoomba.
'Salty' du Rand led the Springboks in a tough encounter with Otago at Carisbrook. The tourists relied on the goal-kicking of their full-back, Roy Dryburgh, who landed a conversion and two penalties to see South Africa to a 14-9 victory.
The Lions staged a second-half recovery to beat the Junior Springboks 16-11 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. The tourists were trailing 6-3 at the break but tries from Haydn Morgan and Ken Jones spared them any blushes.
Gerald Bosch scored 36 points, a then Currie Cup record, for Transvaal against Far North in Johannesburg. Bosch, who played nine times for the Springboks, was a remarkable kicker in an era of less aerodynamic balls, kicking 23 penalties, two drop-kicks and seven conversions.