Author: Chris Schoeman
About the Book:
It was the year 1891, and the first rugby football team from the British Isles was about to embark on a tour of South Africa; any doubts about the financial sustainability of the venture were removed when mining magnate Cecil John Rhodes thumped the table and declared, ’Let them come. I shall stand security for any shortfall.’ And so a tradition began that survived the financial insecurities of the pioneer years, two World Wars, sports boycotts, and the birth of the professional era. These tours have produced some of the finest Test rugby and some of the greatest players and sides seen anywhere in the world. The 1955 series, where Ellis Park drew 90 000 spectators and the likes of Tony O’Reilly, Cliff Morgan and Tom van Vollenhoven set the game alight; the legendary undefeated 1974 side of Willie John McBride, when arguably the finest international touring team to set foot on South African soil destroyed the Springboks; the 1997 side that conquered the then world champions when Jeremy Guscott’s snap drop goal sealed the series with one Test to go. Lions in Africa is an entertaining narrative of one of international sport’s most popular contests, and a welcome addition to any rugby fan’s bookshelf.
About the Author:
Chris Schoeman co-authored the autobiographies of Springbok rugby legends Danie Gerber, Frik du Preez (South Africa’s Player of the Century), Os du Randt and Dawie de Villiers, as well as international cricket umpire Rudi Koertzen. He has also written several books on the Anglo-Boer War, World War I and South African regional histories.
David was born in Mbombela and attended the Diocesan College (Bishops) in Cape Town. He has a degree in history from the University of Cape Town. He worked in the South African archives service before becoming a dealer in rare and unusual books on Africa (Africana) with his wife Karen. They own Select Books based in Claremont (near Cape Town). The shop was established in 1986 and we have owned it since 1996. He has written a number of books related to rugby in South Africa.
Willie John McBride MBE is one of rugby’s all-time greats. During a thirteenyear international career he captained the British & Irish Lions on their unbeaten tour in 1974 and won a record seventeen Lions caps over five tours. He remains a popular and highly respected figure in the rugby world.
Hannes Marais captained the Springboks against the British and Irish Lions in 1974, and also faced the touring side in 1962 and 1968.