Lions make winning start to South Africa tour
Bill Beaumont led the Lions on their opening game of 1980 tour to South Africa against Eastern Province
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Bill Beaumont's Lions began their South African tour at Port Elizabeth, beating Eastern Province 28-16 with tries from Mike Slemen, Elgan Rees and Terry Holmes. It was a contentious tour that went ahead despite opposition from the British Government and groups opposed to sporting contact with the apartheid regime in South Africa. The Four Home Unions committee which organised Lions tours decided to go ahead with the planned trip, despite the opposition. The Lions lost the first three of the Test matches before salvaging some pride and winning the fourth Test. However, they did though win all of their 14 non-International matches.
Louis Luyt announced his resignation as South African Rugby Football Union president after initially refusing to vacate his post. The week before SARFU members had voted narrowly in favour of a motion to force the resignation of its controversial chief who had been accused of racism and financial mismanagement. A bitter row had escalated just a few weeks before with Luyt taking President Nelson Mandela to court to prevent a government inquiry into the allegations - a case that was won by the under-fire Luyt.
Karl Mullen's British & Irish Lions began their tour of New Zealand with a 24-3 win against the Marlborough, Nelson, Golden Bay-Motueka selection in Nelson. The Lions managed to win 22 and draw one of 29 matches during the tour that also included a visit to Australia. The All Blacks won their Test series 3-0 with the Lions only managing to draw the opening clash 9-9 in Dunedin. They had better luck against Australia - winning the first Test 16-9 in Brisbane and the second 24-3 in Sydney.
In the opening Test of the NZ Cavaliers series, South Africa won 21-15 at Newlands where Naas Botha kicks three penalties, dropped two goals and converted Carel du Plessis's try. The Cavaliers was the name given to the unofficial New Zealand team which toured South Africa at a time when national teams were effectively banned from playing the Springboks because of the republic's apartheid policies. The team included 28 of the 30 players who had been selected for the All Blacks tour scheduled for the year before but cancelled. The Cavaliers were coached by Colin Meads and captained by Andy Dalton and won just one of the four matches against South Africa, although they won seven of their eight other games on the tour.
The Barbarians, on their first visit to South Africa, opened their tour with a 17-all draw with Transvaal in front of 60,000 at Ellis Park. Late tries by Arthur Smith and Tony O'Reilly rescued the tourists after the hosts lead 17-11.
Former All Black flanker Leicester Rutledge ws appointed assistant coach to John Kirwan for the Italian national side.