1955 British Lions tour to South Africa

1955 British Lions Tour to South Africa
Date 22 June  – 27 September
Coach(es) Jack Siggins
Tour captain(s) Ireland Robin Thompson
Test series winners Tied (2–2)
Top test point scorer(s) England Jeff Butterfield (12)

In 1955 the British Lions rugby union team toured Southern and Eastern Africa. The Lions drew the test series against South Africa, each team winning two of the four matches. They won the first test by a single point and the third by three points and lost the second and fourth matches by wider margins. As well as South Africa, the tour included a match against South West Africa (later to become Namibia), two games against Rhodesia (later to become Zimbabwe) and one versus East Africa.

Overall the tourists played twenty-five matches winning nineteen, losing five and drawing one. The Lions lost their opening fixture against Western Transvaal and were also beaten by Eastern Province and Border later in the tour. They drew with Eastern Transvaal.

It was the Lions' second tour after World War II and the first to South Africa after that war.

The touring party was captained by Robin Thompson of Ireland. The manager was Jack A. E. Siggins and the assistant manager was D. E. Davies.

Jack Siggins had the honour of being invited, by the Rugby Football Union of East Africa (RFUEA), officially to open the newly constructed RFUEA Ground at Ngong Road in Nairobi just prior to the Lions last match of that tour against East Africa.





1 Dickie Jeeps later played for England but was uncapped at the time of the 1955 tour.

The Idi Amin myth

There is a frequently repeated urban legend[1][2] that Idi Amin (later to become the infamous military dictator of Uganda) was selected as a replacement by East Africa for their match against the 1955 British Lions. The story is entirely unfounded, he does not appear on the team photograph or on the official team list[3] and replacements were not allowed in international rugby until 13 years after this event is supposed to have taken place.[4]


Scores and results list Lions' points tally first.

Opposing Team For Against Date Venue Status
Western Transvaal6922 June 1955Olen Park, PotchefstroomTour match
Giqualand West241425 June 1955De Beers Stadium, KimberleyTour match
Northern Universities32629 June 1955Ellis Park, JohannesburgTour match
Orange Free State3132 July 1955Loubser Park, KroonstadTour match
South West Africa905 July 1955Mable Volk Stadium, WindhoekTour match
Western Province1139 July 1955Newlands, Cape TownTour match
South West Districts22313 July 1955Recreation Ground, GeorgeTour match
Eastern Province02016 July 1955Crusaders Ground, Port ElizabethTour match
North Eastern district34620 July 1955Aliwal NorthTour match
Transvaal361323 July 1955Ellis Park, JohannesburgTour match
Rhodesia271427 July 1955Rokhana Ground, KitweTour match
Rhodesia161230 July 1955Police Ground, SalisburyTour match
South Africa23226 August 1955Ellis Park, JohannesburgTest Match
Central University211410 August 1955Kingsmead, DurbanTour match
Boland11013 August 1955WellingtonTour match
Western province Universities201716 August 1955Newlands, Cape TownTour match
South Africa92520 August 1955Newlands, Cape TownTest Match
Eastern Transvaal171724 August 1955PAM Brink, SpringsTour match
Northern Transvaal141127 August 1955Loftus Versfeld, PretoriaTour match
South Africa963 September 1955Loftus Versfeld, PretoriaTest Match
Natal11810 September 1955Kingsmead, DurbanTour match
Junior Springboks151214 September 1955Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinTour match
Border121417 September 1955East LondonTour match
South Africa82224 September 1955Crusaders Ground, Port ElizabethTest Match
East Africa391227 September 1955Ngong Road Ground, NairobiTour match



  1. Cain, Nick & Growden, Greg "Chapter 21: Ten Peculiar Facts about Rugby" in Rugby Union for Dummies (2nd Edition), p294 (pub: John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, England) ISBN 978-0-470-03537-5
  2. Cotton, Fran (Ed.) (1984) The Book of Rugby Disasters & Bizarre Records. Compiled by Chris Rhys. London. Century Publishing. ISBN 0-7126-0911-3
  3. Campbell, M. & Cohen, E.J. (1960) Rugby Football in East Africa 1909–1959. Published by the Rugby Football Union of East Africa
  4. http://www.rugbyfootballhistory.com/laws.htm#Replacements
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