Lions in Africa by Chris Schoeman & David McLennan

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Publication Date: June 2021

It was the year 1891, and the first rugby football team from the British Isles was about to embark on a tour of South Africa; any doubts about the financial sustainability of the venture were removed when mining magnate Cecil John Rhodes thumped the table and declared, ‘Let them come. I shall stand security for any shortfall.’ And so, a tradition began that survived the financial insecurities of the pioneer years, two World Wars, sports boycotts, and the birth of the professional era.

This book covers these tours from when matches were played on dusty fields and rugby players were transported in carts over poor roads in the Karoo, in coaches that broke down and on slow trains that, on occasion, caught fire. Crowds were also small in number until 2009 when feted players enjoyed every luxury as they played in some of the finest rugby stadiums in the world in front of enormous crowds. This carefully researched book is the first ever published to focus on all the matches played by the Lions in the 130
years of contests in southern Africa and recounts famous victories, agonizing defeats and nail-biting draws! A welcome addition to any rugby fan’s bookshelf.