Alun Wyn’s Lions face different challenge to ‘Class of 1924’ – Welsh Rugby Union


They left on 21 June on the Edinburgh Citadel and returned on 13 October, protecting 6,094 miles by rail in South Africa. England lock Ron Cove-Smith was captain of the Lions in 1924 of their first post-WW1 tour.

He had 10 Scots in his occasion of 29 gamers, and solely three Welshmen, in what was the primary group to be formally known as ‘Lions’. They performed 21 video games, together with 4 Checks, and at one stage went eight video games with no win – two attracts and 6 defeats.

They misplaced two full backs, Will Gaisford within the first coaching session and Tom Holliday within the opening sport, whereas Scottish hooker Andrew Ross wrecked his knee within the fourth match and by no means performed once more.

The Scottish lock Rob Henderson, like Gaisford, dislocated his knee in coaching earlier than the opening sport and missed the primary 12 matches. The flying Scottish wing Ian Smith broke his wrist and solely managed 4 video games, whereas England’s Grand Slam scrum half Arthur Younger was restricted to 9 matches by way of harm.

Lions supervisor Harry Packer, the outdated Newport and Wales ahead, needed to name up two replacements. Irishman Invoice Cunningham, who was working as a dentist in Johannesburg, answered the decision after which Welsh wing Harold Davies joined in.

Even so, Packer usually discovered he was right down to the naked bones in choice phrases for some video games. At one stage he was with out six gamers and determined to play the Gloucester and England again row ahead at full again towards Western Province.

The Lions got here in for some criticism for his or her lack of success and for allegedly “ignoring their health in favour of social leisure”. A part of their downfall was an absence of a tried and trusted goalkicker. With each Gaisford and Holliday out of the equation, they turned to Scotland’s Dan Drysdale.

He was famous for his attacking qualities quite than his goalkicking and it meant the Lions solely managed to transform 10 of the 43 tries they scored on tour.

They misplaced 9 video games, six of them by six factors or much less, and Drysdale additionally missed a point-blank penalty within the third Check that may have certainly received the sport for the Lions. It was a case of what might need been, particularly as in a decent first Check they had been diminished to 14 males when Reg Maxwell dislocated his shoulder and the third Check resulted in a draw.

That is how a few of the key males noticed the tour:


On two events we had simply the naked fifteen obtainable to make up a facet. There have been eight backs and 7 forwards. I don’t put this ahead in any method as an excuse for our considerably dangerous report, as a result of I imagine that we must have received no less than a pair extra matches.

The conduct of the vacationers was very positive, and there was nothing to complain of. The warmth, the arduous grounds, the lengthy distances of journey, and the differential of altitude advised towards us.

The assertion in some papers that a few of the gamers had been ‘doing’ themselves too properly was fairly uncalled for, as additionally was the allegation of tough play on the a part of a few of the members of our occasion.

Not one of the South Africans we met on the taking part in area complained within the least. We had been definitely given an excellent time by the individuals in South Africa.


Scotland and Newport ahead, Neil McPherson

The grounds had been very arduous. The African footballers performed a good good normal and had been a heavy quick lot of males.

We had a job to discover a facet a few instances. The suggestion that the boys have feted themselves too properly is ridiculous. The facet performed very properly and got here as much as expectation, besides in just a few circumstances.

Wales and Swansea wing, Rowe Harding

I’m very glad to get residence once more—we’ve had nearly sufficient! I don’t suppose the usual of South African soccer larger than the perfect group we might ship out and produce. Their forwards are exceptionally good. They appear to go in for a quite totally different type to what ours do – they do little or no of the quick dribbling and ahead rushes we’re used to.

They’re heavier, however are match and intelligent in addition to huge. They’re excellent at quick passing and within the scrums and lengthy line-out. Within the line-out they’ve a trick of taking the ball and concurrently getting away backwards, in order that they’re virtually by way of the opposing defence directly.

Mervyn Ellis, who, I imagine, bas Welsh forefathers, is an effective sort of the South African ahead. Rugby soccer out there’s THE sport—actually, it’s greater than a sport; it’s nearly a faith. Gamers are by no means prevented from taking part in by their work.


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