Lions win the Battle of Boet Erasmus
Andy Irvine kicked two penalties and a conversion at the Battle of Boet Erasmus Stadium
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The Lions took their first series off the Springboks for 78 years by winning the third Test of a four-match rubber 26-9 in Port Elizabeth. The match was one of the most brutal in rugby history and is now infamously known as the 'Battle of Boet Erasmus'. The '99' call was made on more than one occasion by the Lions and in one heated exchange between the sides it resulted in JPR Williams sprinting over half the length of the pitch to right-hook Moaner van Heerden. Andy Irvine kicked two penalties and a conversion, JJ Williams scored two tries and Gordon Brown one as Willie-John McBride's Lions went 3-0 up with one Test to play, having won all their games on tour.
Pierre Villepreux kicked a late 50-metre penalty for France before a last-minute Earle Kirton try gave New Zealand a 12-9 opening Test win in Christchurch.
Ospreys and Wales centre Gavin Henson was forced to deny reports that he was poised to retire from the game. Henson, 27, was reported by The Sun to have told friends of his disillusionment with rugby after a series of injury problems. Henson later took a sabbatical from the game, missing the entire 2009-10 campaign an placing doubts on his future.
Trefor Evans led the Lions to a 22-19 win against the New Zealand Maori at Eden Park. There were 52,000 present, a record midweek crowd for New Zealand rugby, to see Sid Going score two tries for the Maori. The hosts could have squared the game in the last minute, a penalty kick from a handy position sailing wide.
Natal faced the Lions for the first time ever. The tourists were too strong for the province, winning a tight match through a Cherry Pillman conversion, 18-16. Pillman scored one of the four Lions' tries in the first of two meetings inside four days between the two sides.
The Springboks played on New Zealand soil for the first time, beating Wanganui 11-6 in the opening game of a 19-match tour.
The Lions played the Northern Transvaal for the first time, winning 20-12 at the Caledonian Ground in Pretoria. Jim Unwin and Vesey Boyle scored a try apiece for the tourists and Russell Taylor converted both their efforts as well as landing two penalty kicks.