The early 1970s in South Africa were a time of economic boom, political repression, growing isolation and an unshakeable confidence that the Springboks were the best rugby team in the world - until the infamous 1974 British Lions tour. It was a tour in which a group of talented and long-haired rugby players from the British Isles played, sang and drank their way across the country, beating the Springboks 3-0 in the four Tests, with the last one a dubious draw. Until then the Lions hadn’t beaten South Africa at home in 78 years. Based on original research and interviews with players on both sides, When the Lions Came to Town vividly recreates a tumultuous rugby tour that sent shockwaves through South Africa. It captures a bygone era, a time before television, a golden age of amateurism, pranks and setting hotel rooms alight – as the Lions did after winning the series in PE. Insightful, provocative and frequently amusing, When the Lions Came to Town casts a fresh eye on a divisive but undeniably colourful period in South African political, social and sporting history.
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