Canterbury is the official kit sponsor of the British & Irish Lions on their 2017 tour to New Zealand and 2021 visit to South Africa.
The British & Irish Lions are one of the most successful and oldest touring teams in the world, with rich history dating back to the 19th century when the touring tradition began in 1888 after a gruelling 46 days of sailing, Captain Robert Sneddon led his 22-fine picked squad drawing players from England, Scotland and Wales on a 249-day-long tour of Australia & New Zealand. The tour kicked off in Otago, the Lions dressed in red, white and blue. The Lions emerged victors after a fierce game winning 8-3.
They played 35 matches altogether playing against provincial, city and academic teams, they won 27 of these matches alongside the 19 games of Aussie Rules football a completely different game all together however they managed to win 6 of these.
The first Test series took place in 1891 after being invited to South Africa by the Western province union with expenses paid for by prime minister Cecil Rhodes
The RFU was to brand the 21-man team as the English Rugby Football Team, however, the squad contained four Scotsmen including captain and winger Bill Maclagan an Edinburgh Born stockbroker who played 13 seasons of international rugby accumulating 25 caps for his country. Maclagan has since been recognised by the IRB Hall of Fame for his early contributions to the sport. Maclagan saw that they were dubbed the British Isles. They took part in 20 matches including which saw the first inclusion Test matches. The Lions first test match took place at Port Elizabeth Cricket ground in front of 6000 and was won 4-0 by the touring side.
By the 1950s every player for the Lions had an International cap for their country, however, the Test series were not easily won and often still ended in a defeat or draw. Until 1971 the Lions won their first Series in New Zealand and to this day are the only Lions side ever to do so. Captained by Welsh international John Dawes his side after winning the series to an All Blacks side whom previously had won all four tests against the Lions in ’66, made it a very impressive feat especially going into the last test, the tension was high as all was still to play for. After a Try from flanker Peter Dixon along with two penalties and a conversion this was crowned with a 45-metre drop goal from John Williams the Welsh full-back made his only drop kick of his career supposedly this is owed to a pre-match bet, full time went soon after and that was that… The Lions had done it with the final score being 14-14 this was all that was needed to change history for the Lions.
Bringing the Lions history forward to the present day.
In 2017 a reasonably successful tour in New Zealand, the Lions found them self’s with a draw after a gruelling test series against NZ’s finest.
The next tour in 2021 in which the Lions are set to play against South Africa in a 3 test match series along with Pro Club teams such as the Stormers, Sharks, Bulls, Lions, Cheetahs and Southern Kings. However, proposals to limit the number of matches to only 8 compare this to the 10 games played in 2017.
The Lion’s will want to better themselves in 2021 with a win over the mighty Springbok who have looked very dangerous in attack and defence. However, we are still a long way out and everything could change very easily. We will have a much better picture after the Rugby World Cup in Japan this year and so will Warren Gatland in drafting up his potential squad.
Kiwi-born Warren Gatland and ex-Wales head coach is set to return as Lions head coach for a third time after leading his side out in 2013 & 2017, not to mention his role as an assistant coach in 2009. Warren has had a rich coaching career coaching teams such as Connacht, London Wasps, Ireland, Chiefs and only recently retired from Wales. Much concern has been brought to light whether the role should have been given to someone other than Gatland due to his response shortly after 2017 that he “hated the tour” and that he did not wish to partake in the 2021 tour. But on the 10th of May 2019, Warren was announced as head coach.
Between Lions rugby tours, which occur every four years, we have our own brand - First XV Exclusives - a range of Lions inspired merchandise. Mainly inspired by famous quotes from the legendary tour of South Africa in 1997 and their then head coach Jim Telfer.
Telfer along with fellow Scottish coach Ian Mcgeechan spearheaded the tour to South Africa where the squad was very much the underdog. However, the advent of Professional rugby had brought many Rugby League stars into contention. This lifted the previously amateur players to new levels of professionalism and performance. The entire tour was documented in a fly on the wall documentary called Living with the Lions. The Lions won the test series 2-1 and through the documentary, the players and backroom staff's fame and legendary status was lifted through a series of fascinating speeches and insights in the behind the scenes footage.
Our collection of exclusive products feature t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, and mugs emblazoned with some of Jim Telfers most famous words.
All our own brand products are printed in-house to the highest specification. We pride ourselves on using only the best quality base t-shirts and sweatshirts prior to applying our unique designs. We even keep stock up to 5XL so no larger than life rugby man or woman is left out!
If you want to show your support, feel free to check our fantastic official British & Irish merchandise collection in 2021. We offer safe, secure and easy online shopping with free or fast delivery.