In 2001, the Lions broke with tradition on that year’s tour and appointed their first coach outside of the British Isles. The New Zealander Graham Henry, then in charge of Wales, was the one who was in command of the team and another pearl was produced as the captain of the previous tour was repeated. Thus, Martin Johnson became the only player who led the Lions from the captaincy on two tours.
More than 20,000 British fans flocked to Australia in support of the team. The Tour got off to an overwhelming start as the Lions supported no less than 18 tries, marking the first victory and the all-time record by beating an amateur team, Western Australia, from the Western part of the country 116-10. The following friendlies were played with their heads set on the clashes with Australia, although they fell to team A 28-25.
A first test that had luxury and fantasy
With their heads on in the first game, the Lions prepared to surprise the Australians. And they do it like that. On the move, at 3 minutes, they got ahead in the score with a try from Englishman Jason Robinson. They then supported two other conquests through Dafydd James and Quinnell, showing remarkable and surprising superiority. With some luxuries and after a spectacular effort on an individual play, O’Driscoll supported the fourth try and sealed the final score that left the Australians with their heads down and with a resounding defeat of 29-13.
The next game on the tour had the Brumbies wide awake and “putting everything” to complicate the game for the British Lions. But even so, the visitors took the game by 30 to 28 and remained victorious, waiting for their revenge to try to stay with the series.
Four days after the triumph against Brumbies, the British played the second match against the Wallabies, who with a thirst for revenge knew that it would be a decisive match to show that they were alive and thus reach the third match to see who was the best and stayed. with the series.
The first half had the Lions managing the actions and they went to the break up 11 to 6. But from the beginning of the second half, the locals went out to seek to stay with the rematch. Thus, they took control of the game and in just 10 minutes they turned the scoreboard. Then they asserted themselves and settled the lawsuit with a bulky 35 to 14, which not only gave them the chance to go to a third game to define the series, but also showed that the first meeting had been a bad day.
The final test could hardly have been more level. The two teams kept up the pace and there were no major advantages. With the alternating predominance of one and the other, they reached the 28th minute of the second stage with the score tied at 23 … Robinson and Wilkinson had scored the tries for the Lions. But, with little time to play, Matt Burke appeared and, with two consecutive penalties, put Australia in front by 29 to 23. The British had one more play ahead to try with a converted try to stay with the series and there they went to look for it, with a lineout in the 22 of the wallabies thrown by Wood towards Johnson. However, the perfect block by Australian Justin Harrison prevented him. In this way, the Wallabies secured the victory and the series; after a great game and the madness of his fans.
Games played: 10; won 7 and lost 3.
Result of the series against Australia: 1-2.
Coach: Graham Henry.
Captain: Martin Johnson, for the second time.
Goal scorer: Jonny Wilkinson, 36 points.
Forwards: Jason Leonard, Darren Morris, Tom Smith, Phil Vickery, Dai Young, Phil Greening, Robin McBryde, Keith Wood, Mark Regan, Gordon Bulloch, Dorian West, Jeremy Davidson, Danny Grewcock, Martin Johnson, Scott Murray, Malcolm O’Kelly, Neil Back, Colin Charvis, Lawrence Dallaglio, Richard Hill, Scott Quinnell, Simon Taylor, Martyn Williams, Martin Corry, and David Wallace.
Backs: Iain Balshaw, Matt Perry, Ben Cohen, Dafydd James, Dan Luger, Jason Robinson, Tyrone Howe, Mike Catt, Will Greenwood, Rob Henderson, Brian O’Driscoll, Mark Taylor, Scott Gibbs, Neil Jenkins, Ronan O’Gara, Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Dawson, Austin Healey, Rob Howley and Andy Nicol Howley
The 10 matches of the tour
06/08/2001 Western Australia 10-116 British & Irish Lions
Points: Tries by Scott Quinnell and Dan Luger (3); Austin Healey, Neil Back, Will Greenwood (2); Austin Healey, Simon Taylor, Jeremy Davidson, Mark Taylor, Iain Balshaw and Brian O’Driscoll, and 13 conversions from Ronan O’Gara.
06/12/2001 Queensland Pres XV 6-83 British & Irish Lions
Stadium: Dairy Farmers Stadium
Points: Tries by Jason Robinson (5), Rob Henderson (3), Colin Charvis (2), and Malcolm O’Kelly and Dai Young; 5 penalties from Neil Jenkins and 4 from Matt Perry.
06/16/2001 Queensland Reds 8-42 British & Irish Lions
Points: Tries by Dafydd James, Brian O’Driscoll, Rob Henderson and Dan Luger; 3 penalties and 4 conversions by Jonny Wilkinson.
06/19/2001 Australia A 28-25 British & Irish Lions
Stadium: North Power Stadium
Points: Tries by Matt Perry, Jason Robinson and Mark Taylor; 2 penalties from Neil Jenkins and 2 conversions from Matt Dawson.
06/23/2001 NSW Waratahs 24-41 British & Irish Lions
Stadium: Sydney Football Stadium
Points: Tries of Jason Robinson (2), Brian O’Driscoll, Dafydd James and Jonny Wilkinson, who also added 2 penalties and 4 conversions. The remaining conversion was from Matt Dawson.
06/26/2001 NSW Country Districts 3-46 British & Irish Lions
Stadium: Coffs Harbor Int Stadium
Points: Tries by Ben Cohen (2), Scott Gibbs, Austin Healey, Dai Young and Colin Charvis; 2 penalties and 5 conversions by Neil Jenkins.
06/30/2001 Australia 13-29 British & Irish Lions
Stadium: The Gabba
Points: Tries by Dafydd James, Brian O’Driscoll, Jason Robinson and Colin Charvis; a penalty and 3 conversions by Jonny Wilkinson.
07/03/2001 Brumbies 28-30 British & Irish Lions
Stadium: Bruce Stadium
Points: Tries of Austin Healey (2) and David Wallace; 3 penalties and 3 conversions from Matt Dawson.
07/07/2001 Australia 35-14 British & Irish Lions
Stadium: Melbourne Colonial Stadium
Points: Try by Neil Back and 3 penalties by Jonny Wilkinson.
07/14/2001 Australia 29-23 British & Irish Lions
Stadium: Stadium Australia
Points: Tries of Jason Robinson and Jonny Wilkinson, the latter also added 3 penalties and 2 conversions.