Lions dig deep to avoid whitewash
John Robbie about to launch an attack on what was to be his only Lions outing in 1980 © Getty Images
Bill Beaumont's Lions avoided a whitewash in South Africa, winning the fourth and final Test of the series 17-13 in Pretoria. Despite the 3-1 series scoreline, the teams were almost impossible to separate with the winning margins being four, seven, two and four points. The Lions pack was outstanding and allowed Ollie Campbell the unwanted luxury of missing five kicks out of six. The Times reported that the introduction of John Robbie at scrum-half "made an enormous difference … his shrewd reading of every situation a leading factor".
A virtuoso try from scrum-half Ricky Januarie deep into the second half, followed by some heroic 14-man defence saw South Africa to a famous 30-28 victory over New Zealand in Dunedin. Defeat brought an end to the All Blacks' world record run of 30 successive home victories while victory saw the South Africans end a decade of losses in New Zealand. It was also their first win at Carisbrook in eight visits.
After a traumatic few days in Sydney, the Springboks might have been forgiven for thinking that going up country would bring some respite but in Queensland the government declared a state of emergency ahead of their three matches there. Around 450 police were brought in from country areas. In Orange, the Springboks beat a NSW Country XV 19-3. There was one arrest for a student who refused to stop chanting "racists, go home".
Ronald Cove-Smith's Lions opened their tour of South Africa with a disappointing 7-6 defeat against Western Province Town & Country. The home side scored a try and a dropped goal (worth three and four points respectively) to the Lions' two penalties from Billy Wallace at Newlands.
The Lions beat Hawkes Bay, one of New Zealand's strongest provincial outfits, in Napier. Roy Jennings, the uncapped West Countryman playing on the wing, was the man of the match scoring two tries and kicking two penalties in a 14-3 victory.
Young Malcolm Thomas's kicked points were the difference between the Lions and Manawatu/Horowhenua at Palmerston North. The Newport and Wales centre landed two conversions and a penalty goal whilst Jim McCarthy and Roy John scored a try each in the Lions' 13-8 victory.
France made their first tour of Southern Africa and opened with a 19-0 victory against Rhodesia in Salisbury.
The Lions registered five tries in a comfortable 40-13 win against Waikato in the last mid-week game of their tour at Rugby Park. Ollie Campbell chipped in with another 24 points for the Lions, comprising a try, four conversions and four penalty goals.