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May 12 down the years
A slow start for Dawes' Lions
The British and Irish Lions side that won the 1971 series against New Zealand 2-1, October 1 1971.
John Dawes' 1971 Lions made an inauspicious start on this day in 1971 © Getty Images

John Dawes' famous British and Irish Lions side made an inauspicious start to their tour losing 15-11 against Queensland in Brisbane. The Lions landed in Australia and after a 58 hour flight lost out to Queensland before struggling past New South Wales 14-12. Queensland coach Des Connor, a legendary scrum-half who represented both Australia and the All Blacks at Test level, dubbed them the worst Lions side ever to tour before their amazing feats in New Zealand.

Leicester landed their fifth Premiership title - and first since 2002 - and moved to within one victory of an unprecedented trophy treble by blitzing Gloucester 44-16 at Twickenham. The seven-try Tigers were crowned champions in emphatic fashion, completing a league and cup double after lifting the Anglo-Welsh trophy a month earlier. Geordan Murphy, Alesana Tuilagi (2), Martin Corry, Andy Goode, Shane Jennings and Lewis Moody all crossed the Twickenham whitewash to nail home Gloucester's wretched record in finals.

Ospreys secured the 2006-07 Magners League title and Celtic supremacy by seeing off a determined Border Reivers 24-16 at Netherdale. Borders bowed out of existence after the game and had so badly wanted to mark their passing with a positive display. They made the Welshmen battle for their triumph and there were conflicting emotions as the final whistle sounded at Netherdale, the visitors whooping in delight and relief - the hosts fighting back tears of pride and frustration. A brace of tries from centre Sonny Parker and one from All Black Filo Tiatia were enough for the Ospreys, who had a young James Hook to thank for some superb line-breaking.

Scotland, the Grand Slam Five Nations champions, wilted in the Bucharest heat and were beaten 28-22 by a strong Romanian Test side at the Dinamo Stadion. David Leslie and Peter Dods both scored tries for the visiting Scots, but their efforts were outdone by tries from Romanian lock Gheorghie Dumitru, scrum-half Mircea Paraschiv and No.8 Alexandru Radulescu.

For the first time, the Super 12 round-robin matches finished with no New Zealand team in the top four to go forward to the semi-final stage. The semi-finals were to be contested by the Brumbies, Sharks, Cats and Reds. The Brumbies, with George Gregan and Stephen Larkham at the helm, defeated the Sharks 36-6 in the final thanks to a brace from Wallaby winger Joe Roff.

The touring British team were held in New Zealand for the first time, drawing 3-3 with Wellington.

Biarritz were crowned French champions for the first time, beating Perpignan by a try to nil (3-0) in Toulouse. Biarritz had also contested the final the year before, losing out 13-8 to Aviron Bayonnais.

An official Welsh XV played on the African continent for the first time. En route to South Africa, the Welsh opened their short tour with a 26-8 win against East Africa in Nairobi.

© Scrum.com
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