If you had been picking up a copy of ‘Rugby World’ some 50 years ago this month, you would have been able to immerse yourself in the minutiae of the forthcoming British Lions tour to South Africa, little knowing that “the Invincibles” were about to embark on perhaps the greatest rugby tour of them all.

Vivian Jenkins, the magazine’s technical advisor reported that, “The manager Alan Thomas, coach Syd Millar and captain Willie-John McBride have a man-sized job ahead of them. It will need all the planning and dedication at their command if they are to come through successful, but there could hardly be a better combination at the top…no British team has won a series in South Africa since the turn of the century. No New Zealand team has ever won a series there.”

Rupert Perry put the spotlight on No. 8 Andy Ripley, forging a career in banking – though forging might not be the best choice of word for the world of high finance… “Although he is now a ‘City Gent’, he retains the spirit of adventure which took him on a four-month trip hitch-hiking through the United States and Mexico…he lives in Chelsea, enjoys the excitement of riding a huge motor-bike and the knowledge that he can do a certain journey in 11.5 seconds if the traffic light are in his favour.”

1974, a time before speed cameras. You can read all about the Lions’ Class of ‘74 in a fascinating preview, with pen pictures of the squad and all manner of opinions on the prospects from the tour from the magazine’s stable of writers, here.

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