In our latest episode of Rugby Retro, Jeremy Guscott joins Miles Harrison and James Gemmell to discuss his winning drop goal against the Springboks to clinch the series for the British and Irish Lions in 1997.
It was an incredible tour as the Lions defied their underdogs billing to stun world champions South Africa.
Brilliantly coached by Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer, with Fran Cotton as manager, they set the tone for the whole tour and produced a tactical masterclass to outwit the Boks.
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Union was still in its professional infancy in 1997, but the Lions added six former rugby league players who certainly helped accelerate that transformation.
As the first Test at Newlands approached, the Lions were seen as massive outsiders. However, the tourists turned in a performance that shook the world, Neil Jenkins justifying his inclusion by kicking five penalties before an Alan Tait try and Matt Dawson’s outrageous dummy gave them a shock opening victory by 25-16.
The Springboks were licking their wounds and came out all guns blazing in the second Test in Durban. Tries from Joost van der Westhuizen, Percy Montgomery and Andre Joubert set South Africa up but their place-kicking was atrocious and they failed to convert any of the tries.
They were also failing to land any penalty points, unlike the Lions who once again benefited from the perfect boot of Jenkins who kicked five penalties for the second successive Test.
With the scores level at 15-15 late in the match, Guscott landed a match-winning drop goal to guarantee the series victory.
“I was just pleased to be part of such a magic moment,” said Guscott.
“Things could have been a lot worse. I had Austin Healey outside me – if I had passed the ball to him, he would be here now and that would have been a whole different story!”
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