'Lions win first Test series in 16 years'
Lions tour skipper Sam Warburton leads the celebrations after their final test triumph in Sydney © Getty Images
The British & Irish Lions clinched their first test series victory in 16 years as they demolished Australia 41-16 in the final decisive test in Sydney. Lions fans were braced for nerve-shredding finale to the test series after the Wallabies had leveled the series in Melbourne following the Lions win in the opening test in Brisbane. Lions head coach Warren Gatland dropped a selection bombshell by dropping talismanic centre Brian O'Driscoll while flanker George Smith made a remarkable comeback for the Wallabies. But nothing could derail the Lions as they tore apart the Wallabies' scrum and ultimately ran in four tries - with Leigh Halfpenny spearheading the charge - to secure the first test series victory since 1997.
New Zealand gave a what several journalists described as the greatest display of wet-weather rugby in appalling conditions to thrash Australia 43-6 in the first ever Tri Nations Test in Wellington in the Bledisloe Cup. In a gale-force wind and with rain lashing down for much of the match, the All Blacks scored three tries in the first 18 minutes and shut the Australians out with expert ball control throughout the match. It was New Zealand's biggest winning margin in 101 Tests between the two countries. They went on to win all four matches to claim the inaugural series.
The Springboks beat Sydney 21-12 in front of 17,000 at the SCG in the fourth match of their tour of Australia but the real action was off the pitch as anti-apartheid protestors fought running battles with 600 police. An eight-foot fence topped with barbed wire proved no obstacle and and protestors threw orange smoke bombs which asbestos-gloved police lobbed back at them as the match progressed amid the acrid fug At various points beer cans and bangers were thrown at the police, the latter being praised for their self-control after over-reaction by the authorities at earlier demonstrations.
Jimmy Giles, the Coventry and England scrum-half, was pressed into service as an emergency centre and goal-kicker for the Lions in South Africa, scoring three conversions in their 18-3 win against the Orange Free State Country at Loubser Park in Kroonstad.
Mike Campbell-Lamerton's Lions were held to a 6-6 draw by a very physical Bay of Plenty side in front of 25,000 spectators and had to rely on two penalties from Scotland's Stewart Wilson for their points.
Steve Smith made his Lions debut while Clive Woodward filled a rare role as place-kicker, landing a late penalty in a 25-19 win against Hawkes Bay after first-choice kicker Dusty Hare went off with a shoulder injury.
Barry John went through the card of scoring actions to collect 21 points in the Lions' 27-6 win against NZ Universities in Wellington. He scored a brilliant solo try and broke the individual points scoring record for a player touring New Zealand. David Duckham and John Bevan scored the other two Lions tries at Athletic Park.
France registered the first win of their tour of New Zealand, triumphing 12-6 over Otago in Dunedin.