Record comebacks and players to have featured for and against the Lions
September 12, 2012
Riki Flutey is one of only two players to have appeared for and against a genuine Lions tour team © Getty Images
Welcome to the latest edition of Ask John where renowned rugby historian John Griffiths will answer any rugby-related query you have!
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In this edition, John looks focuses on some of the greatest comebacks, players to have featured for and against the British & Irish Lions, the oldest player to have faced the All Blacks and the careers of Archie Drummond and Robert Scohy.
Harlequins overhauled a 27-point deficit scoring 29 points without reply at the recent Twickenham double-header to launch this season's Premiership. Are these records? Graham, England
The Twickenham season-opener was one of the most memorable comebacks of the past 20 years:
1993 at Athletic Park, Wellington
1997 at Twickenham
1999 in Buenos Aires
1999 at Twickenham
2001 at Rotherham
2011 at Cardiff
2012 at Twickenham
Who is the oldest player to take the field in a match against the All Blacks? Martin Smith, England
Hard to say exactly.
One of the oldest must be Douglas Lorne "Buzz" Moore who appeared for British Columbia Mainland on March 13, 1954 against Bob Stuart's All Blacks at Vancouver and ten years later (on February 24, 1964) captained British Columbia against Wilson Whineray's side when he was in his 43rd year. The All Blacks won both matches.
Moore was a member of the Meralomas club in Vancouver and first won representative honours for Vancouver and B.C. in 1938. He led B.C on their tour of Japan in 1958 and in the autumn of 1962 captained the first Canadian national side for sixty years to tour Britain. He also undertook the coaching duties on that trip.
He was a 6ft, 15st prop forward.
How many players have played both for and against the Lions, and what fixtures were they involved in? I think there have been: Riki Flutey (Wellington 2005) JPR, Gerald Davies, Gareth Edwards, Ray Gravell and David Richards (Barbarians 1977) Ken Jones and possibly others (Wales XV 1955). Paul Johns, New Zealand
The only players to appear for and against genuine Lions tour teams are Tom Reid and Riki Flutey.
Reid was an Irish international who toured South Africa with the 1955 Lions before later settling in Canada. He played No 8 for the Eastern Canada side that met the 1959 Lions on their way home from a visit to Australia and New Zealand.
Flutey came on as a substitute for Wellington in their 23-6 defeat by the 2005 Lions. After coming to Britain and winning caps for England he was selected for the 2009 Lions party that toured South Africa, where he appeared in six matches including the final Test which the Lions won 28-9. The only official match played by a Lions tour party on British/Irish soil was the Test with Argentina at Cardiff in 2005.
The stars you mention (except Ken Jones who played for a Lions-styled side) appeared on British soil against what might be called scratch "Lions" teams, admittedly in higher-profile matches than the countless scratch "Lions" matches that have been staged down the years in the UK, but none were part of a side that played an officially-recognised Lions tour party team.
JPR Williams, Gerald Davies, Gareth Edwards, Ray Gravell and David Richards were all past or future Lions who played for the Barbarians in the sell-out 1977 match at Twickenham to mark HM The Queen's Silver Jubilee. It's true the Lions XV comprised members of the party that had toured New Zealand and Fiji under Phil Bennett earlier that summer, but the match is not officially recognised as part of the 1977 Lions tour record.
The 1955 Welsh XV v Lions XV match was staged at Cardiff to mark the 75th anniversary of the WRU. The only member of that Lions scratch side who had not toured South Africa with Robin Thompson's team earlier that year was Wales's Ken Jones, a 1950 Lion. The Welsh XV included the future Lion Ray Prosser while Trevor Lloyd, Bryn Meredith and Courtenay Meredith had been on the 1955 trip.
The 1950 Lions reconvened to play Cardiff in September 1951 to mark the Welsh club's 75th anniversary. The Cardiff side included Cliff Davies, Rex Willis, Jack Matthews and Bleddyn Williams who had been 1950 Lions and Haydn Morris and Cliff Morgan who were Lions in 1955.
The only other high-profile match played by a Lions side on British soil was in 1986 at Cardiff against the Rest of the World to mark the centenary of the International Board.
If he is still alive, Archie Drummond would be the oldest surviving Scotland international. Do you know whether he is still living? Colin McKinnon, Australia
Archibald Hugh Drummond was born on April 2, 1915 in the Hillhead district of Glasgow. He played for Kelvinside Academicals and won two caps on the right-wing in Scotland's 1938 Triple Crown side, playing at Murrayfield against Wales and Ireland. He kicked a first-half penalty goal and scored a second-half try in the win over Ireland.
He died in the Borders (Jedburgh) on September 16, 1990, aged 75.
Do you know if Robert Scohy, born 1909, (France 1931) is still living? Mike Thomas, England
Robert Scohy was a forward in the last French pack before they were expelled from the Five Nations Championship in the 1930s. He practised as a dental surgeon in Oloron Sainte-Marie where he passed away on June 23, 2001 aged 92.
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