• Switch Edition
On This Day / Story
May 15 down the years
1974 Lions tour off to a winning start
Willie John McBride contests a line-out against South Africa in 1974
Willie John McBride led the unbeaten 1974 Lions tour of South Africa © Getty Images
Related Links
Players/Officials: Danny Care | Barry John | Willie-John McBride

Willie-John McBride's Lions - the only invincible tourists of modern times - began their unbeaten 22-match tour of South Africa with a 59-13 win against Western Transvaal. They won 21 of their games on tour including the first three test matches before drawing the final match of the series - a 13-13 in Johannesburg. The tour gained infamy for the '99 call' in which the Lions vowed not to be intimidated by the home sides and collectively decided to get their retaliation against their opponents in first.

Wasps director of rugby Ian McGeechan was announced as the man to tak the 2009 British and Irish Lions to South Africa. McGeechan would take charge for the fourth time having become synonymous with the Lions in an association as player and coach which stretched back through six tours and 34 years. In 2005, McGeechan was in charge of the midweek team - the ''dirt-trackers'' - which travelled through New Zealand unbeaten while Clive Woodward's Test team were humbled 3-0 by the All Blacks.

The Lions, defeated easily by Queensland in their opening tour match, looked to Barry John to take control in their 14-12 win against New South Wales - the second and final game of the Australian leg of their visit.

- Overmach Parma had their two-year ban from European competition suspended after an appeal. The Italian side were initially banned for two years and fined just over £6,000 after they failed to turn up for a rearranged Parker Pen European Shield tie with Pontypridd. Parma were infuriated by European Rugby Cup Ltd's decision to relocate their home clash with Pontypridd to Gloucester's Kingsholm after ice had twice forced the game to be postponed.

Leeds scrum-half Danny Care joined the Headingley exodus by signing a three-year contract with Harlequins. Care, 19, made six appearances for the relegated Tykes that season and was a member of England's sevens squad which won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games.

France beat Romania 11-8 in a tight match in Bucharest. During the thirties France were banned from the Five Nations and sought international opposition from Continental sides such as Germany, Italy and Romania. France had six debutants in the game and the match was played in front of 35 000 fans and won largely thanks to tries from Blond, Caunegre and le Goff.

Castres and Mont-de-Marsan shared the French Championship spoils after their Final at Toulouse ends 3-3 after extra time.

Basie Viviers's Springboks began their marathon tour of Australia and New Zealand with a 41-6 win against ACT in Canberra, the skipper contributing 18 points.

Ireland played in New Zealand for the first time. Tom Grace lead the tourists to a 19-4 win against South Canterbury in Timaru.

© Scrum.com
Live Scores