Barry John kicks the Lions to victory
Barry John scored ten points against Southland on this day in 1971
© Hulton Archive
Barry John gave Southland a master-class in place-kicking technique, landing five goals from five attempts to bring up his century of tour points in the Lions' win at Invercargill. Alistair Biggar scored two tries whilst Merv 'the Swerve' Davies, John Taylor and captain John Dawes landed one apiece as John converted all the Lions' tries.
In the first-ever Test between the nations on South African soil, the Springboks took the All Blacks apart to the tune of 17-0 in Durban. The seven-man New Zealand scrum was pulverised by the 3-4-1 formation employed by the Springboks. The hosts' try came from wing Jack Slater, scoring his second career try for South Africa, and the match was to be his third and final appearance for his country. Bennie Osler kicked two penalties and a brace of dropped-goals in the first of a four-Test series between the sides. It was the first time either side had played a Test match for over three years with 22 debutants on the field.
South African Rugby Union officials were forced into an embarrassing climbdown over comments made by Springboks coach Peter de Villiers in the aftermath of the alleged eye-gouging incident that marred their second Test victory over the British & Irish Lions. Springboks flanker Schalk Burger was yellow-carded in the opening minute of his side's decisive victory in Pretoria after he was seen to place his hands on the face of Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald. He was later cited for alleged eye-gouging and subsequently found guilty of "making contact with the eye area" and banned for eight weeks.
De Villiers questioned the decision to sin-bin his player in the post-match press conference insisting that the incident was "all part of sport" and that he did not believe it was a yellow card offence. However, in a statement released last night South African Rugby Union President Oregan Hoskins and De Villiers apologised for the comments that appeared to give the impression that the organisation condoned eye gouging. "We would like to apologise to the rugby community for the erroneous impression that acts of foul play are in any way condoned by South African rugby," said Hoskins. "That has never been the case and is not now, and we support strong action by rugby authorities when such acts occur."
Stefano Bettarello inspired Italy to a series win in Zimbabwe, scoring all of the Azzurri's points in a 12-10 second Test victory in Harare. The hosts scored two tries but could not avenge their 25-6 defeat the week before as Bettarello kicked a brace of penalties and a couple dropped-goals to give the visitors the victory in what was only the third meeting between the two sides.
Leicester Tigers named South African Heyneke Meyer as the club's new head coach, on a three-year contract. Meyer signed a three-year deal with the Tigers to replace Marcello Loffreda after the Argentinian coach was sacked at the end of the previous season. Meyer had previously coached the Bulls to the 2007 Super 14 title - the first South African side to win the trophy - and won four Currie Cups in five years but his stay at the Tigers was brief. He took compassionate leave from his post to attend to family matters in South Africa and never returned - tendering his resignation January 28, 2009.
The Springboks fielded two lock forwards as flankers and turned in one of the best displays of their New Zealand tour to beat Hawke's Bay 20-0 in Napier.
The Springboks began their tour of New Zealand with a convincing seven-try 32-3 win against Poverty Bay/East Coast at Gisborne.
Jean-Pierre Rives led France to a 14-9 win against Wellington in a dress-rehearsal for their Test series with the All Blacks a week later.
The details of the upgrade for Auckland's Eden Park, which will stage the 2011 World Cup Final, were released. The stadium's capacity would rise to 60,000 at a cost in excess of £1M.