June 25 down the years
The tackle that almost broke a neck
Brian O'Driscoll is carried from the field after being spear tackled © PA Photos

The spear tackle that broke the Lions' back - and nearly their captain's neck. In the first minute of the first Test against the All Blacks in Christchurch, Brian O'Driscoll was lucky he only dislocated a shoulder after being thrust head-down by his opposite number Tana Umaga and hooker Keven Mealamu. A really nasty piece of work, and O'Driscoll was right to call it a cheap shot. With their captain out of the tour and Paul O'Connell yellow-carded, the Lions didn't recover. Against the New Zealand's two tries and 21 points, all they managed was a Jonny Wilkinson penalty goal. Flanker Neil Back was 36, the oldest to play for the Lions in a Test match and no match for New Zealand's exemplary Richie McCaw.

France centre Mathieu Bastareaud admitted that he lied over his alleged "assault" while on tour in New Zealand with the national side. Bastareaud returned to France after receiving facial injuries, which the player said were caused by an assault involving up to five men following France's narrow defeat to the All Blacks in the second Test in Wellington. He later revealed that his injuries were caused by a drunken fall in his hotel room.

New Zealand failed to register a point in a Test for the first time for more than six years when they lost 13-0 to South Africa at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, in the opening Test of their four-match series. Hennie van Zyl scored two tries for the Springboks.

The Lions won a cliff-hanger 14-13 against Canterbury thanks to a late penalty kicked from in-front of the posts by Andy Irvine. The 1971 captain John Dawes was chosen as coach for the 1977 trip to New Zealand, and to captain his team he chose fellow Welshman Phil Bennett. The Lions were looking for a third consecutive series victory following their success in New Zealand in 1971 and South Africa in 1974 but eventually went down 3-1 to the hosts.

England's Cherry Pillman, the star of the 1910 Lions in South Africa, single-handedly won the game against Western Province converting his own try in a 5-3 victory over the Currie Cup holders.

Attie van Heerden crossed for five tries and centre Charlie Meyer scored two in the Springboks first official match on tour in Australia. Slip Carr registered the home side's only try as the South Africans won 25-10 against the Waratahs in a match that subsequently was raised to Test status by the Australian Rugby Union. (It is not, however, regarded as a Test by the South Africans.)

Gerry Brand's goal-kicking gave Western Province the upper-hand in their 21-11 win against the Lions in Cape Town.

Welsh wing Haydn Morris sprinted away for a hat-trick of tries in the Lions 24-14 win against Griqualand West.

The Lions crashed to their third provincial defeat of their tour in New Zealand when Wellington overwhelmed the visitors 20-6 at Athletic Park.

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