2001 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia

2001 British and Irish Lions Tour to Australia
Date 8 June  – 14 July
Coach(es) Graham Henry
Tour captain(s) England Martin Johnson
Test series winners  Australia (2–1)
Top test point scorer(s) England Jonny Wilkinson (36)
2001 tour badge

The 2001 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia was a series of matches played by the British and Irish Lions rugby union team in Australia.

This tour followed the Lions' 1997 tour to South Africa and preceded the 2005 tour to New Zealand.

The team was captained by Martin Johnson, who became the first and so far only man to lead the Lions on two tours. The coach was New Zealander Graham Henry. After winning the first of their matches against Australia, the Lions lost the remaining two matches of the test series. This was the first time that Australia defeated the Lions in a series. The tour was noted for tension between the test squad and the midweek squad as well as controversial newspaper columns written by scrum-halves Matt Dawson and Austin Healey accusing the coaching staff of the poor scheduling and training regimes and lack of team spirit.


Fullbacks: Iain Balshaw (Bath and England); Matt Perry (Bath and England)

Wings: Ben Cohen (Northampton and England); Dafydd James (Llanelli and Wales); Dan Luger (Saracens and England); Jason Robinson (Sale and England); Tyrone Howe (Ulster and Ireland) – injury replacement for Dan Luger

Centres: Mike Catt (Bath and England); Will Greenwood (Harlequins and England); Rob Henderson (Wasps and Ireland); Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster and Ireland); Mark Taylor (Swansea and Wales); Scott Gibbs (Swansea and Wales) – injury replacement for Mike Catt

Fly halves: Neil Jenkins (Cardiff and Wales); Ronan O'Gara (Munster and Ireland); Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle and England)

Scrum halves: Matt Dawson (Northampton and England); Austin Healey (Leicester and England); Rob Howley (Cardiff and Wales); Andy Nicol (Glasgow and Scotland) – injury replacement for Rob Howley

Props: Jason Leonard (Harlequins and England); Darren Morris (Swansea and Wales); Tom Smith (Brive and Scotland); Phil Vickery (Gloucester and England); Dai Young (Cardiff and Wales)

Hookers: Phil Greening (Wasps and England); Robin McBryde (Llanelli and Wales); Keith Wood (Harlequins and Ireland); Gordon Bulloch (Glasgow and Scotland) – injury replacement for Phil Greening; Dorian West (Leicester and England) – called up as back-up after a number of injuries to the squad

Locks: Jeremy Davidson (Castres and Ireland); Danny Grewcock (Saracens and England); Martin Johnson (Leicester and England; capt); Scott Murray (Saracens and Scotland); Malcolm O'Kelly (St Mary's College and Ireland)

Back row: Neil Back (Leicester and England); Colin Charvis (Swansea and Wales); Lawrence Dallaglio (Wasps and England); Richard Hill (Saracens and England); Scott Quinnell (Llanelli and Wales); Simon Taylor (Edinburgh and Scotland); Martyn Williams (Cardiff and Wales); Martin Corry (Leicester and England) – injury replacement for Simon Taylor; David Wallace (Munster and Ireland) – injury replacement for Lawrence Dallaglio


Date Home team Score Away team Score Ground Crowd
8 June Western Australia 10 British and Irish Lions 116 WACA, Perth
12 June Queensland Presidents XV 6 British and Irish Lions 83 Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville
16 June Queensland Reds 8 British and Irish Lions 42 Ballymore, Brisbane
19 June Australia 'A' 28 British and Irish Lions 25 North Power Stadium, Gosford
23 June New South Wales Waratahs 24 British and Irish Lions 41 Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
26 June New South Wales Country 3 British and Irish Lions 46 International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
30 June Australia 13 British and Irish Lions 29 The Gabba, Brisbane
3 July ACT Brumbies 28 British and Irish Lions 30 Bruce Stadium, Canberra
7 July Australia 35 British and Irish Lions 14 Colonial Stadium
14 July Australia 29 British and Irish Lions 23 Stadium Australia



Jason Robinson scored the first try of the match, putting the Lions up 5 to nil. Andrew Walker successfully kicked a penalty goal for Australia's first points. The Lions scored through Dafydd James, which was converted by Wilkinson. The score at half time was 12–3.

Brian O'Driscoll scored for the Lions in the second half. Wilkinson converted the try, making it 19 points. Wilkinson would also kick a penalty goal as well. Scott Quinnell scored for the Lions, Wilkinson converted. Walker then scored a try for Australia. The Lions won the first Test.

30 June 2001
Australia  13–29 British and Irish Lions
Tries: Grey
Pen: Walker
Report Tries: Robinson
Con: Wilkinson (3)
Pen: Wilkinson
The Gabba, Brisbane
Attendance: 37,460


The second test was played at Colonial Stadium in Melbourne. Wilkinson was successful with two penalty goals, giving the Lions a six to nil lead. Burke then kicked a penalty goal for Australia. Neil Back scored the first try of the match, giving the Lions an 11 to three lead over Australia. Burke kicked another penalty goal to make the score 11 points to six to the Lions.

Joe Roff scored a try for Australia in the second half, making the score 11-all. Burke kicked a penalty goal to take Australia to the lead. The score became 21–11 when Roff scored his second try. Wilkinson then kicked a penalty goal to make it 21–14. Burke then scored a try for Australia, making it 29–14. Burke kicked another two penalty goals. Australia won the second Test.

7 July 2001
Australia  35–14 British and Irish Lions
Tries: Roff (2)
Con: Burke (1)
Pen: Burke (6)
Report Tries: Back
Pen: Wilkinson (3)
Colonial Stadium, Melbourne
Attendance: 56,605


With the Lions winning the opening test, and Australia coming back to win the second, the third game at Stadium Australia in Sydney was the decider and was refereed by New Zealander Paddy O'Brien. The scoring opened up in the third minute, with a penalty to Australia – Burke was successful with the penalty goal, taking Australia to a three to nil lead. Wilkinson, who was under an injury cloud leading up to the match, levelled the scores in the 5th minute with a successful penalty goal. Burke then landed another penalty goal for Australia. Four minutes later Burke kicked another penalty goal, giving Australia a nine to three lead. Robinson scored the first try of the match, which was converted by Wilkinson, giving the Lions a 10 to nine lead. Daniel Herbert scored Australia's first try which was converted by Burke, giving Australia a 16 to 10 lead. Wilkinson was successful with a penalty goal that made the scores 16 points to 13.

The Lions took the lead in the second half, with Wilkinson crossing the line to score a try and then converting it, giving the Lions a 20 to 16 lead. Herbert scored his second try in the 49th minute, Burke converted, giving Australia the lead, 23 points to 20. Wilkinson kicked a penalty goal, levelling scores at 23-all. Burke was successful with a subsequent penalty goal five minutes after. Burke kicked another in the 76th minute, to make the score 29 to 23.

14 July 2001
Australia  29–23 British and Irish Lions
Tries: Herbert (2)
Con: Burke (2)
Pen: Burke (5)
match report Tries: Robinson, Wilkinson
Con: Wilkinson (2)
Pen: Wilkinson (3)
Stadium Australia, Sydney
Attendance: 84,188

Television coverage

In Australia, Seven Network and Fox Sports jointly televised the British and Irish Lions matches.

External links

Preceded by
1997 Tour to South Africa
Tour to Australia
Succeeded by
2005 Tour to New Zealand
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