2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia

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

2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia
2001 tour badge
Date8 June  – 14 July
Coach(es)New Zealand Graham Henry
Tour captain(s)England Martin Johnson
Test series winners Australia (2–1)
Top test point scorer(s)England Jonny Wilkinson (36)
2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia
10 07 00 03
Test match
03 01 00 02
3 1 0 2

The Lions squad was captained by Martin Johnson, the first player to lead the Lions on two tours. The head 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 poor scheduling and training regimes and lack of team spirit.


Name Position Club Home Nation Notes
Iain Balshaw Full-back Bath   England
Matt Perry Full-back Bath   England
Ben Cohen Wing Northampton Saints   England
Dafydd James Wing Llanelli   Wales
Dan Luger Wing Saracens   England
Jason Robinson Wing Sale Sharks   England
Tyrone Howe Wing Ulster   Ireland Injury replacement for Dan Luger
Mike Catt Centre Bath   England
Will Greenwood Centre Harlequins   England
Rob Henderson Centre London Wasps   Ireland
Brian O'Driscoll Centre Leinster   Ireland
Mark Taylor Centre Swansea   Wales
Scott Gibbs Centre Swansea   Wales Injury replacement for Mike Catt
Neil Jenkins Fly-half Cardiff   Wales
Ronan O'Gara Fly-half Munster   Ireland
Jonny Wilkinson Fly-half Newcastle Falcons   England
Matt Dawson Scrum-half Northampton Saints   England
Austin Healey Scrum-half Leicester Tigers   England
Rob Howley Scrum-half Cardiff   Wales
Andy Nicol Scrum-half Glasgow   Scotland Injury replacement for Rob Howley
Jason Leonard Prop Harlequins   England
Darren Morris Prop Swansea   Wales
Tom Smith Prop Brive   Scotland
Phil Vickery Prop Gloucester   England
Dai Young Prop Cardiff   Wales
Phil Greening Hooker London Wasps   England
Robin McBryde Hooker Llanelli   Wales
Keith Wood Hooker Harlequins   Ireland
Mark Regan Hooker Bristol   England
Gordon Bulloch Hooker Glasgow   Scotland Injury replacement for Phil Greening;
Dorian West Hooker Leicester Tigers   England Called up as back-up after a number of injuries to the squad
Jeremy Davidson Lock Castres   Ireland
Danny Grewcock Lock Saracens   England
Martin Johnson (c) Lock Leicester Tigers   England
Scott Murray Lock Saracens   Scotland
Malcolm O'Kelly Lock St Mary's College   Ireland
Neil Back Back row Leicester Tigers   England
Colin Charvis Back row Swansea   Wales
Lawrence Dallaglio Back row London Wasps   England
Richard Hill Back row Saracens   England
Scott Quinnell Back row Llanelli   Wales
Simon Taylor Back row Edinburgh   Scotland
Martyn Williams Back row Cardiff   Wales
Martin Corry Back row Leicester Tigers   England Injury replacement for Simon Taylor
David Wallace Back row Munster   Ireland Injury replacement for Lawrence Dallaglio


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


First TestEdit

Jason Robinson scored the first try of the match, putting the Lions up 5–0. 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 before kicking a penalty goal to make the score 22–3. Scott Quinnell then scored for the Lions, with Wilkinson converting. Walker then scored a try for Australia. The Lions won the first Test.

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


Lions: Perry (Balshaw h-t); James, O'Driscoll, Henderson, Robinson; Wilkinson, Howley; T Smith (Leonard 74), Wood, Vickery, Johnson (capt), Grewcock, Corry, Hill, Quinnell (Charvis 61).

Australia: Latham (Burke h-t); Walker, Herbert, Grey, Roff; Larkham (Flatley 52), Gregan; Stiles, Paul (Foley 52), Panoho (Darwin 61), Giffin, Eales (capt; Cockbain 61), Finegan (Lyons 72), G Smith, Kefu.

Referee: A Watson (South Africa)[1]

Second TestEdit

The second test was played at Colonial Stadium in Melbourne. Wilkinson was successful with two penalty goals, giving the Lions a 6–0 lead. Burke then kicked a penalty goal for Australia. Neil Back scored the first try of the match, giving the Lions an 11–3 lead over Australia. Burke kicked another penalty goal to make the score 11–6 to the Lions.

Joe Roff scored a try for Australia in the second half, making the score 11–11. Burke kicked a penalty goal to give Australia 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 & Irish Lions
Try: Roff (2)
Con: Burke
Pen: Burke (6)
Report Try: Back
Pen: Wilkinson (3)
Colonial Stadium, Melbourne
Attendance: 56,605


British Lions: Perry, James, O'Driscoll, Henderson, Robinson, Wilkinson, Howley, Smith, Wood, Vickery, Johnson, Grewcock, Hill, Back, Quinnell. Replacements: Leonard, West, Corry, Williams, Dawson, Jenkins, Balshaw.

Australia: Burke, Walker, Herbert, Grey, Roff, Larkham, Gregan, Stiles, Foley, Moore, Giffin, Eales, Finegan, G. Smith, Kefu. Replacements: Cannon, Darwin, Cockbain, Lyons, Whitaker, Flatley, Latham.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa) [2]

Third TestEdit

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 began in the third minute with a penalty to Australia – Burke was successful with the penalty goal, taking Australia to a 3–0 lead. Wilkinson, who was under an injury cloud leading up to the match, levelled the scores in the fifth 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 9–3 lead. Robinson scored the first try of the match, which was converted by Wilkinson, giving the Lions a 10–9 lead. Daniel Herbert scored Australia's first try which was converted by Burke, giving Australia a 16–10 lead. Wilkinson was successful with a penalty goal that made the score 16–13.

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 20–16 lead. Herbert scored his second try in the 49th minute, Burke converted, giving Australia a 23–20 lead. Wilkinson kicked a penalty goal, levelling scores at 23–23. Burke was successful with a subsequent penalty goal five minutes after. Burke kicked another in the 76th minute, to make the score 29–23.

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

Television coverageEdit

In Australia, Seven Network and Fox Sports jointly televised the British & Irish Lions matches. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, matches were shown on Sky Sports.


  1. ^ "Australia 13-29 Lions". the Guardian. 1 July 2001. Retrieved 26 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Australia pass second Test to level the series". the Guardian. 7 July 2001. Retrieved 26 August 2021.

External linksEdit