1938 British Lions tour to South Africa

The 1938 British Isles tour to South Africa was the fourteenth tour by a British Isles team and the sixth to South Africa. The tour is retrospectively classed as one of the British Lions tours, as the Lions naming convention was not adopted until 1950.

1938 British Lions tour
to South Africa
Date11 June – 21 September
Coach(es)Major B.C. Hartley
Tour captain(s)Ireland Sam Walker
Test series winners South Africa (2–1)
Top test point scorer(s)Wales Vivian Jenkins (9)
1938 British Lions tour to South Africa
24 17 00 07
Test match
03 01 00 02
 South Africa
3 1 0 2

The tour party was led by Ireland's Sam Walker and managed by Col. Hartley, and took in 24 matches. Of the 24 games, 19 were against club or invitational teams, three were test matches against the South African national team and the other two games were outside South Africa against Rhodesia. The British Isles lost two and won one of the test matches, and in the non-test games lost five and won sixteen.

Like many of the early Lions parties, the tour did not represent the best of British and Irish rugby talent. Obvious omissions included Wilf Wooller and Cliff Jones.

Touring partyEdit

Match summaryEdit

Complete list of matches played by the British Isles in South Africa:[1][2]

  Test matches

The first test v South Africa, played on August 6 at Ellis Park
# Date Rival City Venue Result Score
1 11 Jun Border Bulldogs East London Won 11–8
2 15 Jun Griqualand West Kimberley Won 22–9
3 18 Jun Western Province Cape Town Newlands Lost 8–11
4 22 Jun South Western Districts Oudtshoorn Recreation Ground Won 19–10
5 25 Jun Western Province Cape Town Newlands Lost 11–21
6 29 Jun Transvaal Potchefstroom Olën Park Won 26–9
7 2 Jul Orange Free State Bloemfontein Won 21–6
8 6 Jul Orange Free State Country Kroonstad Loubser Park Won 18–3
9 9 Jul Transvaal Johannesburg Ellis Park Lost 9–16
10 13 Jul Northern Transvaal Pretoria Caledonian Ground Won 20–12
11 16 Jul Cape Province Kimberley Won 10–3
12 20 Jul   Rhodesia Salisbury Won 25–11
13 23 Jul   Rhodesia Bulawayo Won 45–11
14 30 Jul Transvaal Johannesburg Ellis Park Won 17–9
15 6 Aug   South Africa Johannesburg Ellis Park Lost 12–26
16 13 Aug Northern Province Durban Kingsmead Cricket Lost 8–26
17 17 Aug Natal Pietermaritzburg Won 15–11
18 20 Aug Border Bulldogs East London Won 19–11
19 24 Aug North-East Districts Burgersdorp Won 42–3
20 27 Aug Eastern Province Port Elizabeth St George's Park Won 6–5
21 3 Sep   South Africa Port Elizabeth St George's Park Lost 3–19
22 10 Sep   South Africa Cape Town Newlands Stadium Won 21–16
23 17 Sep Western Province Universities Cape Town Newlands Stadium Won 19–16
24 21 Sep Western Province Country Cape Town Newlands Stadium Lost 7–12
Pl W D L Ps Pc
24 17 0 7 414 284

Test detailsEdit

First TestEdit

8 August 1938
South Africa   26–12   British Isles
Try: Harris,
Williams (2),
Con: Brand (4)
Pen: Brand (2)
Report Pen: Jenkins (3), Taylor
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 36,000
Referee: A.M. Horak
South Africa
British Isles

South Africa: G.H Brand, F.G Turner, G.P Lochner, P de Wet, D.O Williams, T.A Harris, D.H Craven (Captain), S.C Louw, J.W Lotz, M.M Louw, B.A du Toit, W.F Bergh, A.R Sherriff, W.E Bastard, L.C Strachan
British Isles: V..G.J Jenkins, E.J Unwin, D.J Macrae, H.R McKibbon, E.L Jones, F.J Reynolds, J.L Giles, M.E Morgan, C.R.A Graves, G.T Dancer, S Walker (Captain), R.B Mayne, R. Alexander, W.G Howard, A.R


  1. ^ British & Irish Lions results on Rugby Football History
  2. ^ Early Lions: Squads and results (1888–1938) on BBC Sport, 18 May 2005