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On This Day / Story
May 17 down the years
1930 Lions touch down in New Zealand
Percy Montgomery kicks for goal, Newport v Bridgend, Principality Cup semi-final, Millennium Stadium, April 19, 2003
Percy Montgomery starred for Newport on this day in 2003 © Getty Images

After a 36-day voyage, the British & Irish Lions arrived in Wellington Harbour aboard the Rangitata for their Test tour of New Zealand. The Lions got off to the best possible start with England centre Carl Aarvold captaining them to a 6-3 victory over the All Blacks in Dunedin, but soon felt the wrath of the host side as they were defeated in the remaining three Tests at Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington.

The IRB drew a line under the Grannygate mess but few were happy, backing an independent judicial committee decision to only severely reprimand Scotland and Wales after they fielded ineligible players. Wales played New Zealand-born Shane Howarth and Brett Sinkinson and Scotland English-born David Hilton illegally. Howarth and Sinkinson believed they qualified through a Welsh grandparent, but were unable to provide documentary proof.

Ireland won their first-ever major tour match, beating South-Western Districts 11-6 at Mossel Bay. Tom Kiernan kicked a penalty, a drop a goal and converted hooker Jimmy Dick's try for the tourists. Dick would not play for the Irish in a Test match on tour, making his one and only Test appearance against England in the 1962 Five Nations.

South African star Percy Montgomery made light of the pressure he was under with a 29-point haul as Newport routed Ebbw Vale 61-9. Monty was under a big cloud and waiting for a disciplinary hearing after being sent off for pushing a touch judge over. But he repaid Newport with a magnificent performance, scoring two tries and kicking five conversions and three penalties.

The Millennium Stadium was announced as the host venue for the Heineken Cup final in May 2006. It would be the second time the stadium had hosted the top European tournament's prestigious final and it was the fourth time in 11 years the final had been played in Cardiff. Munster won the final 23-19 over Biarrtiz. Cardiff again hosted the tournament final in 2008, with Munster again winning out against French opposition, defeating Toulouse 16-13.

In the big game of their tour, the Barbarians beat their South African counterparts 23-11 in front of a capacity crowd in Port Elizabeth.

England, having been whitewashed in the Five Nations, opened their short tour of South Africa with a 19-0 win against Natal. Sam Doble is the toast of the visitors, the fullback kicking seven of their points.

The Lions enjoyed victory in a hard-fought struggle with Natal in Durban. Irish fly-half Ollie Campbell kicked two penalties and converted a try as the tourists settle for a 21-15 win. Campbell would go on to feature in three Test matches on tour, landing 11 points in the process.

The rebel New Zealand Cavaliers levelled their series with the Springboks. Grant Fox kicked three penalties and a conversion in their 19-18 win in Durban.

Former All Black Frano Botica makes his Test debut for Croatia, contributing 23 points to their 43-24 defeat of Latvia. Fly-half Botica won seven caps for the All Blacks between 1986 and 1989, including the Bledisloe Cup series in 1986.

© Scrum.com
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